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The Funds of this Memorial are derived from the interest accruing 
from a sum of money given by the late MRS. GIBB of Glasgow, to 
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and to promote those researches into the History, Literature, Philo 
sophy, and Religion of the Turks, Persians, and Arabs to tvhi ch, from 
his youth upwards, until his premature and deeply lamented death 
in his 45 M year on December 5, 1901, his life was devoted. 

ti\ & fon \jjxfe * \S ^ \?,\jT i)Ss 


" The ivorker pays his debt to Death ; 
His work lives on, nay, quickeneth." 

The following memorial verse is contributed by ^ Abdii l-Haqq Hdmid 
Bey of the Imperial Ottoman Embassy in London, one of the Founders 
of the New School of Turkish Literature, and for many years an 
intimate friend of the deceased. 


w_^o \ 


". y. w. GIBB MEMORIAL: 


[JANE GIBB, died November 26, 1904.], 








appointed 1905. 



14 Suffolk Street, Pall Mall, 





Page 2, penult. For (p. 3) read (p. i). 

p. 3, line 14 and 1. 30. For (p. 3) read (p. i). 

p. 4, 1. 1 8. For (p. 3) read (p. i). 

p. 4, 1. 26. /^r just as the veil destroys revelation (inukashafaf] readjust as 

veiling destroys the unveiled object (mukdshaf\ 
p. 6, 1. 4 and 1. 16. For (p. 3) mzd? (p. i). 
p. 51, 1. 6. For Parg raj^T Burk 0r Purg, and correct the note accordingly. 

See Guy Le Strange, The Lands of the Eastern Caliphate, p. 292. 
p. 54, 1. 28. For the infectious cankers of the age read the cankers which 

infect age after age. 
p. 85, 1. 19. For (sahib al-qulub] read (sdhi l-qulub}. Sdhi, " sober," is the 

antithesis of maghlub, " enraptured." 
p. 127, 1. 17. For Al.-lNTAKi read AL-ANTAKI. 
p. 130, 1. 27. Although some writers give "Abu 1-Hasan" as the kunya of 

Nun, the balance of authority is in favour of " Abu 1-Husayn ". 
p. 131, n. 2. Add, See Goldziher in ZDMG., 61, 75 ff., and a passage in 

Yaqut s Irshdd al-Arib, ed. by Margoliouth, vol. iii, pt. i, 153, 3 ff. ; 

cited by Goldziher \\-\JRAS. for 1910, p. 888. 

p. 155, 1. 26. Omit B. before DULAF. 
p. 169, 1. i. Omit B. before ALL 
p. 173, 1. 1 1. For Pa dsha h-i read Padishah-i. 

p. 182, 1. 26. Shdhmurghi is probably a mistake for siydh murghi, "a black 
bird." Cf. my edition of the Tadhkirat al-Aivliyd, ii, 259, 23. 
p. 257, 1. i. For t atil read tcftil. 
p. 323, 1. 10. For Missisi read Massisi. 



Translator s Preface . , xvn-xxiv 

Author s Introduction . 1-9 

I. On the Affirmation of Knowledge 1 1-18 

II. On Poverty ..... I9~ 2 9 

III. On Sufiism . . . .. 3O-44 

IV. On the Wearing of Patched Frocks . . 45~57 
V. On the Different Opinions held concerning 

Poverty and Purity . . 58-61 

VI. On Blame (Maldmat) ... . 62-9 

VII. Concerning their Imams who belonged to 

the Companions .. .. 7 O ~4 

VIII. Concerning their Imams who belonged to 

the House of the Prophet . ,. 75- 8 

IX. Concerning the People of the Veranda 

(Ahl-i Suffa) . . . ... .81-2 

X. Concerning their Imams who belonged to 

the Followers (al- Tdbi uii} . . . 83-7 
XL Concerning their Imams who lived sub 
sequently to the Followers down to 
our day . . . *. . . . 88-160 

XII. Concerning the principal Sufis of recent 

times. 161-71 

XIII. A brief account of the modern Sufis in 

different countries ..... 172-5 

XIV. Concerning the Doctrines held by the 

different sects of Sufi s . ^ . 176-266 

XV. The Uncovering of the First Veil : Con 
cerning the Gnosis of God (ma rif at Allah} 267-77 
XVI. The Uncovering of the Second Veil : Con 
cerning Unification (tawhid) . . . 278-85 



XVII. The Uncovering of the Third Veil: Con 
cerning Faith ...... 286-90 

XVIII. The Uncovering of the Fourth Veil : Con 
cerning Purification from Foulness . 291-9 
XIX. The Uncovering of the Fifth Veil : Con 
cerning Prayer (al-saldf) . . . 300-13 
XX. The Uncovering of the Sixth Veil : Con 
cerning Alms (al-zakdf) .... 314-19 

XXI. The Uncovering of the Seventh Veil : On 

Fasting (al-sawm) ..... 320-5 

XXII. The Uncovering of the Eighth Veil: Con 
cerning the Pilgrimage .... 326-33 

XXIII. The Uncovering of the Ninth Veil: Con 

cerning Companionship, together with its 

Rules and Principles .... 334-66 

XXIV. TheUncovering of theTenth Veil : explaining 

their phraseology and the definitions of 
their terms and the verities of the ideas 
which are signified . . . . 367-92 

XXV. The Uncovering of the Eleventh Veil : Con 
cerning Audition (samd^ .... 393-420 


THIS translation of the most ancient and celebrated Persian 
treatise on Sufiism will, I hope, be found useful not only by the 
small number of students familiar with the subject at first hand, 
but also by many readers who, without being Orientalists 
themselves, are interested in the general history of mysticism 
and may wish to compare or contrast the diverse yet similar 
manifestations of the mystical spirit in Christianity, Buddhism, 
and Islam. The origin of Sufiism and its relation to these great 
religions cannot properly be considered here, and I dismiss such 
questions the more readily because I intend to deal with them 
on another occasion. It is now my duty to give some account 
of the author of the Kashf al-Mahjub, and to indicate the 
character of his work. 

Abu 1-Hasan All b. Uthman b. AH al-Ghaznawi al-Jullabi 
al-Hujwin 1 was a native of Ghazna in Afghanistan. 2 Of his 
life very little is known beyond what he relates incidentally in 
the Kashf al-Mahjub. He studied Sufiism under Abu 1-Fadl 
Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Khuttali 3 (p. 166), who was a pupil 
of Abu 1-Hasan al-Husri (ob. 371 A.H.), and under Abu l- Abbas 
Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Ashqani or al-Shaqani 4 (p. 168). He 

1 Jullab and Hujwi r were two suburbs of Ghazna. Evidently he resided for some 
time in each of them. 

2 Notices occur in the Nafahdt al-Uns, No. 377 ; the So/mat al-Awliyd, No. 298 
(Ethe s Cat. of the Persian MSS. in the Library of the India Office, \, col. 304) ; the 
Riydd al-Awliyd, Or. 1745, f. 140^ (Rieu s Cat. of the Persian MSS. in the British 
Museum, iii, 975). In the khdtimat al-tafr on the last page of the Lahore edition 
of the Kashf al-Mahjub he is called Hadrat-i Data Ganj-bakhsh AH al-Hujwirf. 

3 Nafahdt, No. 376. Through al-Khuttali, al-Husri, and Abu Bakr al-Shiblf the 
author of the Kashf al-Mahjub is spiritually connected with Junayd of Baghdad 
(ob. 297 A.H.). 

4 Ibid., No. 375. The nisba Shaqqani or Shaqani is derived from Shaqqan, 
a village near Nishapur. 


xvill PREFACE. 

also received instruction from Abu 1-Qasim Gurgani 1 (p. 169) 
and Khwaja Muzaffar 2 (p. 170), and he mentions a great number 
of Shaykhs whom he had met and conversed with in the course 
of his wanderings. He travelled far and wide through the 
Muhammadan empire from Syria to Turkistan and from the 
Indus to the Caspian Sea. Among the countries and places 
which he visited were Adharbayajan (pp. 57 and 410), the tomb 
of Bayazid at Bistam (p. 68), Damascus, Ramla, and Bayt 
al-Jinn in Syria (pp. 94, 167, 343), Tus and Uzkand (p. 234), 
the tomb of Abu Sa id b, Abi 1-Khayr at Mihna (p. 235), Merv 
(p. 401), and the Jabal al-Buttam to the east of Samarcand 
(p. 407). He seems to have settled for a time in Iraq, where 
he ran deeply into debt (p. 345). It may be inferred from a 
passage on p. 364 that he had a short and unpleasant experience 
of married life. Finally, according to the Riydd al-Awliyd, he 
went to reside at Lahore and ended his days in that city. His 
own statement, however, shows that he was taken there as 
a prisoner against his will (p. 91), and that in composing the 
Kashf al-Mahjub he was inconvenienced by the loss of the 
books which he had left at Ghazna. The date of his death is 
given as 456 A.H. (1063-4 A.D.) or 464 A.H. (1071-2 A.D.), but 
it is likely that he survived Abu 1-Qasim al-Qushayri, who 
died in 465 A.H. (1072 A.D.). Rieu s observation (Cat. of the 
Persian MSS. in the British Museum, i, 343) that the author 
classes Qushayri with the Sufis who had passed away before 
the time at which he was writing, is not quite accurate. The 
author says (p. 161) : "Some of those whom I shall mention in 
this chapter are already deceased, and some are still living." 
But of the ten Sufis in question only one, namely, Abu 1-Qasim 
Gurgani, is referred to in terms which leave no doubt that he 
was alive when the author wrote. In the Saftnat al-Awliyd, 
No. 71, it is stated that Abu 1-Qasim Gurgani died in 450 A.H. 
If this date were correct, the Kashf al- Makjub must have been 
written at least fifteen years before Qushayri s death. On the 
other hand, my MS. of the Shadhardt al-Dhahab records the 

1 Nafahdt, No. 367. 2 Ibid. , No. 368. 


death of Abu 1-Qasim Gurgani under the year 469 A.H., a date 
which appears to me more probable, and in that case the 
statement that the author survived Oushayri may be accepted, 
although the evidence on which it rests is mainly negative, for 
we cannot lay much stress on the fact that Qushayri s name is 
sometimes followed by the Moslem equivalent for " of blessed 
memory ". I conjecture, then, that the author died between 
465 and 469 A.H. 1 His birth may be placed in the last decade 
of the tenth or the first decade of the eleventh century of our 
era, and he must have been in the prime of youth when Sultan 
Mahmud died in 421 A.H. (1030 A.D.). The Risdla-i Abdaliyya? 
a fifteenth century treatise on the Muhammadan saints by 
Ya qub b. Uthman al-Ghaznawi, contains an anecdote, for 
which it would be hazardous to claim any historical value, to 
the effect that al-Hujwiri once argued in Mahmud s presence 
with an Indian philosopher and utterly discomfited him by an 
exhibition of miraculous powers. Be that as it may, he was 
venerated as a saint long after his death, and his tomb at Lahore 
was being visited by pilgrims when Bakhtawar Khan wrote the 
Riydd al-A wliyd in the latter half of the seventeenth century. 

In the introduction to the KasJif al-Mahjub al-Huj win com 
plains that two of his former works had been given to the 
public by persons who erased his name from the title-page, 
and pretended that they themselves were the authors. In 
order to guard against the repetition of this fraud, he has 
inserted his own name in many passages of the present work. 
His writings, to which he has occasion to refer in the Kaslif 
al-Mahjiib, are 

1. A diwdn (p. 2). 

2. Minhdj al-din, on the method of Siifiism (p. 2). It com 
prised a detailed account of the Ahl-i Suffa (p. 80) and a full 
biography of Husayn b. Mansur al-Hallaj (p. 153). 

* The date 465 A.H. is given by Azad in his biographical work on the famous men 
of Balgram, entitled Mahathir al-Kiram. 

2 See Ethe s Cat. of the Persian MSS. in the India Office Library, No. 1774 (2). 
The author of this treatise does not call al-Hujwiri the brother of Abu Sa id b. Abi 1- 
Khayr, as Ethe says, but his spiritiial brother (birddar-i haqiqaf]. 


3. Asrdr al-khiraq wa l-ma tindt, on the patched frocks 
of the Sufis (p. 56). 

4. Kitdb-ifand u baqd, composed " in the vanity and rashness 
of youth " (p. 60). 

5. A work, of which the title is not mentioned, in explanation 
of the sayings of Husayn b. Mansur al-Hallaj (p. 153). 

6. Kitdb al-baydn li-aJil al-^iydn, on union with God (p. 259). 

7. Bahr al-quhlb (p. 259). 

8. Al-Ri dyat li-huqtiq Allah, on the Divine unity (p. 280). 

9. A work, of which the title is not mentioned, on faith 
(p. 286). 

None of these books has been preserved. 

The Kashf al-Mahjub^ which belongs to the later years of 
the author s life, and, partly at any rate, to the period of his 
residence in Lahore, was written in reply to certain questions 
addressed to him by a fellow- townsman, Abu Sa id al-Hujwin. 
Its object is to set forth a complete system of Sufiism, not 
to put together a great number of sayings by different Shaykhs, 
but to discuss and expound the doctrines and practices of the 
Sufis. The author s attitude throughout is that of a teacher 
instructing a pupil. Even the biographical section of the 
work (pp. 70-175) is largely expository. Before stating his 
own view the author generally examines the current opinions 
on the same topic and refutes them if necessary. The 
discussion of mystical problems and controversies is enlivened 
by many illustrations drawn from his personal experience. 
In this respect the Kashf al-Mahjub is more interesting than 
the Risdla of Qushayri, which is so valuable as a collection of 
sayings, anecdotes, and definitions, but which follows a some 
what formal and academic method on the orthodox lines. No 
one can read the present work without detecting, behind the 
scholastic terminology, a truly Persian flavour of philosophical 

Although he was a Sunni and a Hanafite, al-Hujwiri, like 
many Sufi s before and after him, managed to reconcile his 

1 Its full title is Kashf al-mahjub li-arbab al-qiihib (Hajji Khalifa, v, 215). 


theology with an advanced type of mysticism, in which the 
theory of " annihilation " (fund) holds a dominant place, but 
he scarcely goes to such extreme lengths as would justify us 
in calling him a pantheist. He strenuously resists and pro- JT\ 
nounces heretical the doctrine that human personality can be 
merged and extinguished in the being of God. He compares 
annihilation to burning by fire, which transmutes the quality 
of all things to its own quality, but leaves their essence 
unchanged. He agrees with his spiritual director, al-Khuttali, 
in adopting the theory of Junayd that " sobriety " in the mystical 
acceptation of the term is preferable to " intoxication ". He 
warns his readers often and emphatically that no Sufis, not 
even those who have attained the highest degree of holiness, 
are exempt from the obligation of obeying the religious law. 
In other points, such as the excitation of ecstasy by music and 
singing, and the use of erotic symbolism in poetry, his judgment 
is more or less cautious. He_ defends al-Hallaj from the 
charge of being a magician, and asserts that his sayings are 
pantheistic only in appearance, but condemns his doctrines as 
unsound. It is clear that he is anxious to represent Sufiism 
as the true interpretation of Islam, and it is equally certain 
that the interpretation is incompatible with the text. 1 Not 
withstanding the homage which he pays to the Prophet we 
cannot separate al-Hujwiri, as regards the essential principles 
of his teaching, from his older and younger contemporaries, 
Abu Sa fd b. Abi 1-Khayr and Abdallah Ansari. 2 These 
three mystics developed the distinctively Persian theosophy 
which is revealed in full-blown splendour by Farid al-din Attar 
and Jalal al-din Rumi. 

The most remarkable chapter in the Kashf al-Mahjtib is the 
fourteenth, "Concerning the Doctrines held by the different 
sects of Sufis," in which the author enumerates twelve mystical 

1 The author s view as to the worthlessness of outward forms of religion is 
expressed with striking boldness in his chapter on the Pilgrimage (pp. 326-9). 

2 Many passages from the Kashf al-Mahjiib are quoted, word for word, "in Jami s 
Nafahat al-Uns, which is a modernized and enlarged recension of Abdallah Ansari s 
Tabaqdt al-Siifiyya. 

xxii PREFACE. 

schools and explains the special doctrine of each. 1 So far as 
I know, he is the first writer to do this. Only one of the schools 
mentioned by him, namely, that of the Malamati s, seems to 
be noticed in earlier books on Sufiism ; such brief references 
to the other schools as occur in later books, for example in the 
Tadhkirat al-Awliyd, are probably made on his authority. 
The question may be asked, " Did these schools really exist, or 
were they invented by al-Hujwiri in his desire to systematize 
the theory of Sufiism ? " I see no adequate ground at present 
for the latter hypothesis, which involves the assumption that 
al-Hujwiri made precise statements that he must have known 
to be false. It is very likely, however, that in his account of 
the special doctrines which he attributes to the founder of each 
school he has often expressed his own views upon the subject 
at issue and has confused them with the original doctrine. 
The existence of these schools and doctrines, though lacking 
further corroboration, 2 does not seem to me incredible ; on 
the contrary, it accords with what happened in the case 
of the Mu tazilites and other Muhammadan schismatics. 
Certain doctrines were produced and elaborated by well- 
known Shaykhs, who published them in the form of tracts or 
were content to lecture on them until, by a familiar process, 
the new doctrine became the pre-eminent feature of a particular 
school. Other schools might then accept or reject it. In some 
instances sharp controversy arose, and the novel teaching gained 
so little approval that it was confined to the school of its author 
or was embraced only by a small minority of the Sufi brother 
hood. More frequently it would, in the course of time, be 
drawn into the common stock and reduced to its proper level. 
Dr. Goldziher has observed that Sufiism cannot be regarded 
as a regularly organized sect within Islam, and that its dogmas 

1 A summary of these doctrines will be found in the abstract of a paper on " The 
Oldest Persian Manual of Sufiism" which I read at Oxford in 1908 (Trans, of the 
Third International Congress for the History of Religions, i, 293-7). 

2 Some of al-Huj win s twelve sects reappear at a later epoch as orders of dervishes, 
but the pedigree of those orders which trace their descent from ancient Sufis is 
usually fictitious. 


cannot be compiled into a regular system. 1 That is perfectly 
true, but after allowing for all divergences there remains 
a fairly definite body of doctrine which is held in common 
by Sufis of many different shades and is the result of gradual 
agglomeration from many different minds. 

It is probable that oral tradition was the main source from 
which al-Hujwiri derived the materials for his work. Of extant 
treatises on Sufiism he mentions by name only the Kitdb 
al-Luma by Abu Nasr al-Sarraj, who died in 377 or 378 A.H. 
This book is written in Arabic and is the oldest specimen 
of its class. Through the kindness of Mr. A. G. Ellis, who 
has recently acquired the sole copy that is at present known 
to Orientalists, I have been able to verify the reading of 
a passage quoted by al-Hujwi ri (p. 341), and to assure myself 
that he was well acquainted with his predecessor s work. 
The arrangement of the KasJif al-Mahjtib is partially based 
on that of the Kitdb al-Lttma\ the two books resemble each 
other in their general plan, and some details of the former 
are evidently borrowed from the latter. Al-Hujwiri refers in 
his notice of Ma ruf al-Karkhi (p. 114) to the biographies of 
Sufis compiled by Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami and 
Abu 1-Qasim al-Qushayri. Although he does not give the 
titles, he is presumably referring to Sulami s Tabaqdt al-Silfiyya 
and Qushayri s Risdla? The Kashf al-Mahjub contains a 
Persian rendering of some passages in the Risdla of Qushayri, 
with whom al-Hujwiri seems to have been personally acquainted. 
A citation from Abdallah Ansari occurs on p. 26. 

Manuscripts of the Kashf al- Mahjiib are preserved in several 
European libraries. 3 It has been lithographed at Lahore, and 
Professor Schukovski of St. Petersburg is now, as I understand, 
engaged in preparing a critical text. The Lahore edition is 
inaccurate, especially in the spelling of names, but most of 

1 JRAS., 1904, p. 130. 2 Cf., however, p. 114, note. 

3 See Ethe s Cat. of the Persian MSS, in the India Office Library, i, col. 970, 
where other MSS. are mentioned, and Blochet, Cat. des manuscrits persans de la 
BibliothZque Nationale, i, 261 (No. 401). 

xxiv PREFACE. 

its mistakes are easy to emend, and the text agrees closely 
with two MSS. in the Library of the India Office (Nos. 1773 
and 1774 in Ethe s Catalogue], with which I have compared it. 
I have also consulted a good MS. in the British Museum 
(Rieu s Catalogue, i, 342). The following abbreviations are 
used : L. to denote the Lahore edition, I. to denote the India 
Office MS. 1773 (early seventeenth century), J. to denote the 
India Office MS. 1774 (late seventeenth century), and B. to 
denote the British Museum MS. Or. 219 (early seventeenth 
century). In my translation I have, of course, corrected the 
Lahore text where necessary. While the doubtful passages 
are few in number, there are, I confess, many places in which 
a considerable effort is required in order to grasp the author s 
meaning and follow his argument. The logic of a Persian 
Sufi must sometimes appear to European readers curiously 
illogical. Other obstacles might have been removed by means 
of annotation, but this expedient, if adopted consistently, would 
have swollen the volume to a formidable size. 

The English version is nearly complete, and nothing of 
importance has been omitted, though I have not hesitated to 
abridge when opportunity offered. Arabists will remark an 
occasional discrepancy between the Arabic sayings printed 
in italics and the translations accompanying them : this is 
due to my having translated, not the original Arabic, but the 
Persian paraphrase given by al-Hujwiri. 




O Lord, bestow on us mercy from Thyself, and provide for us 

a right course of action ! 

Praise be to God, who hath revealed the secrets of His kingdom 
to His Saints, and hath disclosed the mysteries of His 
power to His intimates, and hath shed the blood of Lovers 
with the sword of His glory, and hath let the hearts of 
Gnostics taste the joy of His communion ! He it is that 
bringeth dead hearts to life by the radiance of the perception 
of His eternity and His majesty, and reanimates them 
with the comforting spirit of knoivledge by divulging His 

And peace be upon His Apostle, Muhammad, and his family and 
his companions and his wives ! 

Ali b. Uthman b. All al-Jullabi al-Ghaznawi al-Hujwm 
(may God be well pleased with him !) says as follows : 

I have asked God s blessing, and have cleared my heart of 
motives related to self, and have set to work in accordance with 
your invitation may God make you happy ! and have firmly 
resolved to fulfil all your wishes by means of this book. I have 
entitled it " The Revelation of the Mystery ". Knowing what 
you desire, I have arranged the book in divisions suitable to 
your purpose. Now I pray God to aid and prosper me in its 
completion, and I divest myself of my own strength and ability 
in word and deed. It is God that gives success. 




Two considerations have impelled me to put my name at the 
beginning of the book : one particular, the other general. 1 As 
regards the latter, when persons ignorant of this science see 
a new book, in which the author s name is not set down in 
several places, they attribute his work to themselves, and thus 
the author s aim is defeated, since books are compiled, composed, 
and written only to the end that the author s name may be kept 
alive and that readers and students may pronounce a blessing 
on him. This misfortune has already befallen me twice. 
A certain individual borrowed my poetical works, of which 
there was no other copy, and retained the manuscript in his 
possession, and circulated it, and struck out my name which 
stood at its head, and caused all my labour to be lost. May 
God forgive him ! I also composed another book, entitled 
" The Highway of Religion " (Minhdj al-Din\ on the method 
of Sufiism may God make it flourish ! A shallow pretender, 
whose words carry no weight, erased my name from the 
title page and gave out to the public that he was the author, 
notwithstanding that connoisseurs laughed at his assertion. 
God, however, brought home to him the unblessedness of 
this act and erased his name from the register of those who 
seek to enter the Divine portal. 

As regards the particular consideration, when people see 
a book, and know that its author is skilled in the branch of 
science of which it treats, and is thoroughly versed therein, 
they judge its merits more fairly and apply themselves more 
seriously to read and remember it, so that both author and 
reader are better satisfied. The truth is best known to God 


In using the words "I have asked God s blessing" (p. 3), 
I wished to observe the respect due to God, who said to His 

1 The author s meaning appears to be that one consideration has a special reference 
to connoisseurs and competent persons, while the other has a general reference to the 
public at large. 


Apostle : " When you read the Koran., take refuge with, God from 
the stoned Devil" (Kor. xvi, 100). " To ask blessing" means 
" to commit all one s affairs to God and to be saved from, the 
various sorts of contamination ". The Prophet used to teach his 
followers to ask a blessing (istikhdrat] just as he taught them 
the Koran. When a man recognizes that his welfare does not 
depend on his own effort and foresight, but that every good and 
evil that happens to him is decreed by God, who knows best 
what is salutary for him, he cannot do otherwise than surrender 
himself to Destiny and implore "God to deliver him . from the 
wickedness of his own soul. 


As to the words " I have cleared my heart of all motives 
related to self" (p. 3), no blessing arises from anything in 
which selfish interest has a part. If the selfish man succeeds in 
his purpose, it brings him to perdition, for "the accomplishment 
of a selfish purpose is the key of Hell" ; and if he fails, he will 
nevertheless have removed from his heart the means of gaining 
salvation, for " resistance to selfish promptings is the key of 
Paradise", as God hath said: " Whoso refrains his soul from 
lust, verify Paradise shall be his abode" (Kor. Ixxix, 40-1). 
People act from selfish motives when they desire aught except 
to please God and to escape from Divine punishment. In 
fine, the follies of the soul have no limit and its manoeuvres 
are hidden from sight. If God will, a chapter on this subject 
will be found at its proper place in the present book. 


Now as to the words " I have set to work in accordance 
with your invitation, and have firmly resolved to fulfil all 
your wishes by means of this book " (p. 3), since you thought 
me worthy of being asked to write this book for your instruc 
tion, it was incumbent on me to comply with your request. 
Accordingly it behoved me to make an unconditional resolution 



that I would carry out my undertaking completely. When 
anyone begins an enterprise with the intention of finishing it, 
he may be excused if imperfections appear in his work ; and 
for this reason the Prophet said : " The believer s intention 
is better than his performance." Great is the power of 
intention, through which a man advances from one category 
to another without any external change. For example, if 
anyone endures hunger for a while without having intended 
to fast, he gets no recompense (thawdb) for it in the next 
world ; but if he forms in his heart the intention of fasting, 
he becomes one of the favourites of God (muqarmbdn). Again, 
a traveller who stays for a time in a city does not become a 
resident until he has formed the intention to reside there. A 
good intention, therefore, is preliminary to the due performance 
of ever act. 

When I said that I had called this book " The Revelation 

of the Mystery" (p. 3), my object was that the title of the 

book should proclaim its contents to persons of insight. You 

Amust know that all mankind are veiled from the_subtlet 

spiritual truth except God s saints and His chosen friends; 
and inasmuch as this book is an elucidation of the Way of 

Truth, and an explanation of mystfcaTsayings, and an uplifting 
J \T\ of the veil of mortality, no other title is appropriate to it. 
Essentially, unveiling (kashf) is destruction of the veiled 
object, just as the veil destroys revelation (inukdshafaf), and 
just as, for instance, one who is near cannot bear to be far, 
and one who is far cannot bear to be near ; or as an animal 
which is generated from vinegar dies when it falls into any 
other substance, while those animals which are generated 
from other substances perish if they are put in vinegar. The 
spiritual path is hard to travel except for those who were 
created for that purpose. The Prophet said : " Everyone finds 
easy that for which he was created." There are two veils : 
one is the "veil of covering" (Jiijdb-i rayni), which can never 


be removed, and the other is the " veil of clouding " (hijdb-i 
ghayni\ which is quickly removed. The explanation is as 
follows : one man is veiled from the Truth by his essence 
so~That In his view trutJL a falsehood are the same. 

Another man is veiled from the Truth by his attributes (sifat\ 
so that his nature and heart continually seek the Truth 
and flee from falsehood. Therefore the veil of essence, which 
is that of " covering " (rayni), is never removed. Rayn is 

synonymous with khatin (sealing) and tab (imprinting). Thus 
God hath said : "By no means : but their deeds have spread a 
covering, (rana) over their hearts^" (Kor. Ixxxiii, 14); then He 
made the sense of this manifest and said : " Verily it is all one to 
tJte unbelievers whether thou warnest them or no ; they wiUn ot 
believe" (Kor. ii, 5) ; then he explained the cause thereof, saying : 
" God hath sealed up their hearts" .(Kor. ii, 6). But the veil 
oTattributes, which is that of "clouding" (ghaym\ may be 
removed at times, for essence does not admit of alteration, 
but the alteration of attributes is possible. The Sufi Shayklis 
have given many subtle hints on the subject of rayn dindghayn. 
Junayd said: Al-rayn min jumlat al-ivatandt wa^l-ghayn min 
jumlat al-kliatardt, " Rayn belongs to the class of abiding 
things and gJiayn to the class of transient things." Watan 
is permanent and khatar is adventitious. For example, it is 
impossible to make a mirror out of a stone, though many 
polishers assemble to try their skill on it, but a rusty mirror 
can be made bright by polishing ; darkness is innate in the 
stone, and brightness is innate in the mirror ; since the essence 
is permanent, the temporary attribute does not endure. 

Accordingly, I have composed this book for polishers of 
hearts which are infected by the veil of " clouding " but in which 
the substance of the light of the Truth is existent, in order that 
the veil may be lifted from them by the blessing of reading it, 
and that they may find their way to spiritual reality. Those 
whose being is compounded of denial of the truth and perpetra 
tion of falsehood will never find their way thither, and this 
book will be of no use to them. 



Now with reference to my words " knowing what you desire, 
I have arranged the book in divisions suitable to your purpose" 
(p. 3), a_questioner cannot be satisfied until he makes Jhis 
want known to the person whom he interrogates. A question 
presupposes a difficulty, and a difficulty is insoluble until its 
nature is ascertained. Furthermore, to answer a question in 
general terms is only possible when he who asks it has full 
knowledge of its various departments and corollaries, but with 
a beginner one needs to go into detail, and offer diverse 
explanations and definitions ; and in this case especially, 
seeing that you God grant you happiness ! desired me to 
answer your questions in detail and write a book on the 


I said, " I pray God to aid and prosper me" (p. 3), because 
God alone can help a man to do good deeds. When God 
assists anyone to perform acts deserving recompense, this is 
truly "success given by God" (tawfiq). The Koran and the 
Sunna attest the genuineness of tawfiq, and the whole Moslem 
community are unanimous therein, except some Mu tazilites 
and Qadarites, who assert that the expression tawfiq is 
void of meaning. Certain Sufi Shaykhs have said, Al-tawfiq 
huwa l-qudrat a/a l-td at inda l-isti indl, " When a man is 
obedient to God he receives from God increased strength." 
In short, all human action and inaction is the act and creation 
of God : therefore the strength whereby a man renders obedience 
to God is called tawfiq. The discussion of this topic, however, 
would be out of place here. Please God, I will now return to 
the task which you have proposed, but before entering on it 
I will set down your question in its exact form. 


The questioner, Abu Sa id al-Hujwiri, said: "Explain to 
me the true meaning of the Path of Sufiism and the nature 


of the stations (maqdmdf) of the Sufis, and explain their 
doctrines and sayings, and make clear to me their mystical 
allegories, and the nature of Divine Love and how it is 
manifested in human hearts, and why the intellect is unable 
to reach the essence thereof, and why the soul recoils from 
the reality thereof, and why the spirit is lulled in the purity 
thereof; and explain the practical aspects of Sufiism which 
are connected with these theories." 


The person questioned, All b. Uthman al-Jullabi al-Hujwiri 
may God have mercy on him ! says : 

Know that in this our time the science of Sufiism is obsolete, ; 
especially in this country. The whole people is occupied 
with following its lusts and has turned its back on the path 
of quietism (ridd\ while the ulamd and those who pretend 
to learning have formed a conception of Sufiism which is quite 
contrary to its fundamental principles. 

High and low alike are content with empty professions : 
blind conformity has taken the place of spiritual enthusiasm. 
The vulgar say, " \Ve know God," and the elect, satisfied if 
they feel in their hearts a~Tonging for the next world, say, 
" This desire is vision and ardent love." Everyone makes 
pretensions, none attains to reality. The disciples, neglecting 
their ascetic practices, indulge in idle thoughts, which they call 
" contemplation ". 

I myself (the author proceeds) have already written several 
books on Sufiism, but all to no purpose. Some false pretenders 
picked out passages here and there in order to deceive the 
public, while they erased and destroyed the rest ; others 
did not mutilate the books, but left them unread ; others read 
them, but did not comprehend their meaning, so they copied 
the text and committed it to memory and said : " We can 
discourse on mystical science." Nowadays true spiritualism 
is as rare as the Philosopher s Stone (kibrit-i ahmar) ; for it 


is natural to seek the medicine that fits the disease, and 
nobody wants to mix pearls and coral with common remedies 
like shalithd 1 and dawd al-misk?" In time past the works 
of eminent Sufis, falling into the hands of those who could 
not appreciate them, have been used to make lining for 
caps or binding for the poems of Abu Nuwas and the 
pleasantries of Jahiz. The royal falcon is sure to get its 
wings clipped when it perches on the wall of an old 
woman s cottage. Our contemporaries give the name of 
"law" to their lusts, pride and ambition they call "honour 
and learning ", hypocrisy towards men " fear of God ", conceal 
ment of anger "clemency", disputation "discussion", wrangling 
and foolishness "dignity", insincerity " renunciation ", cupidity 
"devotion to God", their own senseless fancies "divine know 
ledge", the motions of the heart and affections of the animal soul 
"divine love", heresy " poverty ", scepticism " purity ", disbelief 
in positive religion (zandaqa) "self-annihilation", neglect of 
the Law of the Prophet "the mystic Path", evil communication 
with time-servers "exercise of piety". As Abu Bakr al-Wasiti 
said : " We are afflicted with a time in which there are neither 
the religious duties of Islam nor the morals of Paganism nor 
the virtues of Chivalry " (ahldm-i dhaivi l-muruwwa). And 
Mutanabbf says to the same effect; 3 


" God curse this world ! What a vile place for any camel-rider 

to alight in ! 
For here the man of lofty spirit is always tormented" 


\ SE< 

Know that I have found this universe an abode of Divine 
mysteries, which are deposited in created things. Substances 
accidents, elements, bodies, forms, and properties all these 
are veils of Divine mysteries. From the standpoint of 

1 An electuary used as a remedy for paralysis of the tongue or mouth. 

2 See Dozy, Supplement, under dawd. 

3 Mutanabbi, ed. by Dieterici, p. 662, 1. 4 from foot. 


Unification (tawhid) it is polytheism to assert that any such 

veils exist, but in this world everything is veiled,, by its f^l** 

being, from Unification, and the spirit is held captive by 

admixture and association with phenomenal being. Hence 

the intellect can hardly comprehend those Divm? mysteries, 

and the spirit can but dimly perceive the marvels of nearness 

to God. Man, enamoured of his gross environment, remains 

sunk in ignorance and apathy, making no attempt to cast 

off the veil that has fallen upon him. Blind to the beauty 

of Oneness, he turns away from GocT to "seek lfiF~varntfes~oF~" 1 

this world and allows his appetites to domineer over his 

reason, notwithstanding that the animal soul, which the Koran O *^ 

(xii, 53) describes as "commanding to evil" (ammdrat nn bi 

V-J^ ), jsjhe greatest of all veils between God and Man. 

Now I will begin and explain to you, fully and lucidly, what 
you wish to know concerning the " stations " and the " veils ", 
and I will interpret the expressions of the technicologists 
(ahl-i sand i \ and add thereto some sayings of the Shaykhs 
and anecdotes about them, in order that your object may be 
accomplished and that any learned doctors of law or others 
who look into this work may recognize that the Path of 
Sufiism has a firm root and a fruitful branch, since all the 
Sufi Shaykhs have been possessed of knowledge and have 
encouraged -their disciples to acquire knowledge and to 
persevere in doing so. They have never been addicted to 
frivolity and levity. Many of them have composed treatises 
on the method of Sufiism which clearly prove that their 
minds were filled with divine thoughts. 



God hath said, describing the savants^ ( l ulamd) : " Of those 
who serve God only tJie savants fear Hint " (Kor. xxxv, 25).^" 
The Prophet said : " To seek knowledge is obligatory on every 
Moslem man and woman ; " and he said also : " Seek knowledge . >y ^^ 
even in China." Knowledge is immense and life is short : 
therefore it is not obligatory to learn all the sciences, such 
as Astronomy and Medicine, and Arithmetic, etc., but only 
so mucrT of each as bears upon the religious law : enough 
astronomy to know the times (of prayer) in the night, 
enough medicine to abstain from what is injurious, enough 
arithmetic to understand the division of inheritances and 
to calculate the duration of the idda?- etc. Knowledge is 
obligatory only in so far as is requisite for acting rightly. 
God condemns those who learn useless knowledge (Kor. ii, 
96), and the Prophet said : " I take refuge with Thee from 
knowledge that profiteth naught." Much may be done by 
means of a little knowledge, and knowledge should not be 
separated from action. The Prophet said : " The devotee 
without divinity is like a donkey turning a mill," because 
the donkey goes round and round over its own tracks and 
never makes any advance. 

"""Some regard knowledge as superior to action, while others 
put action first, but both parties are wrong. Unless action 
is_cpmbined with knowledge, it is not deserving of recompense- 
Prayer, for instance, is not really prayer, unless performed 
with knowledge of the principles of purification and those 

1 The period within which a woman, who has been divorced or whose husband has 
died, may not marry again. 


which concern the qibla, 1 and with knowledge of the nature 
<>f intention. Similarly, knowledge without action is not 
knowledge. Learning and committing to memory are acts 
for which a man is rewarded in the next world ; if he gained 
knowledge without action and acquisition on his part, he 
would get no reward. Hence two classes of men fall into 
error: firstly, those who claim knowledge for the sake of 
public reputation but are unable to practise it, and in reality 
have not attained it ; and secondly, those who pretend that 
practice suffices and that knowledge is unnecessary. It is 
told of Ibrahim b. Adham that he saw a stone on which was 
written, " Turn me over and read !_^ He obeyed, and found 
this inscription : " Thou dost not practise what thou knowest ; 
why, then, dost thou seek what thou knowest not ? " Anas 
b. Malik says : " The wise aspire to know, the foolish to 
relate." He who uses his knowledge as a means of winning 
power and honour and wealth is no savant. The highest 
pinnacle of knowledge is expressed in the fact that without 
V/ it none can know God. 


Knowledge is of two kinds : Divine and Human. The 
latter is worthless in comparison with the former, because 
God s knowledge is an attribute of Himself, subsisting in 
Him, whose attributes are infinite ; whereas our knowledge 
is an attribute of ourselves, subsisting in us, whose attributes 
are finite. Knowledge has been defined as " comprehension 
and investigation of the object known ", but the best definition 
j of it is this: "A_ quality whereby the ignorant are made wise." 
God s knowledge is that by which He knows all things existent 
and non-existent : He does not share it with Man : it is not 
capable of division nor separable from Himself. The proof of 
it lies in the disposition of His actions (tartib-i fi~las1i}, since 
action demands knowledge in the agent as an indispensable 
condition. The Divine knowledge penetrates what is hidden 

1 The point to which a Moslem turns his face when worshipping, viz. the Ka ba. 



and comprehends what is manifest^ It behoves the seeker to 
contemplate God in every act, knowing that God sees him and 
all that he does. 

Story. They relate that a leading man in Basra went to 
his garden. By chance his eye fell upon the beautiful wife 
of his gardener. He sent the fellow away on some business 
and said to the woman: "Shut the gates." She replied: 
" I have shut them all except one, which I cannot shut." He 
asked: "Which one is that?" "The gate," said she, "that 
is between us and God." On receiving this answer the man 
repented and begged to be forgiven. 

Hatim al-Asamm said : " I have chosen four things to know, 

and have discarded all the knowledge in the world besides." 

He was asked : " What are they ? " " One," he answered, " is 

this : I know that my daily bread is apportioned to me, 

and will neither be increased nor diminished ; consequently 

.xy^ J~L&-&^^^& 

y I have ceased to seek to augment it. Secondly, I know that 
% I owe to God a debt which no other person can pay instead 

of me; therefore I am occupied with paying it. Thirdly, 
V I know that there is one pursuing me (i.e. Death) from 

whom I cannot escape ; accordingly I have prepared myself 

to meet him. Fourthly, I know that God is observing me ; A 

therefore I am ashamed to do what I ought not." 

. The object of human knowledge should be to know God 

" M ^^* W "**^^ "^ **^*^^"^"MWWw*MP^M"^^HB Bi ^^ B| ^ 

and His Commandments. Knowledge of " time " (film-i waqf)^ 
and of all outward and inward circumstances of which the 
due effect depends on " time ", is incumbent upon everyone. 
This is of two sorts : primary and secondary. The external 

1 "Time" (waqt) is used by Muhammadan mystics to denote the spiritual state 
in which anyone finds himself, and by which he is dominated at the moment. The 
expression ilm-i ^vaqt occurs again in the notice of Abu Sulayman al-Darani 
(chapter x, No. 17), where ivaqt is explained as meaning "the preservation of one s 
spiritual state". According to a definition given by Sahl b. Abdallah al-Tustari, 
waqt is " search for knowledge of the state, i.e. the decision (hnkni) of a man s state, 
which exists between him and God in this world and hereafter ". 


division of the primary class consists in making the Moslem s 
profession of faith, the internal division consists in the 
attainment of true cognition. The external division of the 
secondary class consists in the practice of devotion, the internal 
division consists in rendering one s intention sincere. The 
outward and inward aspects cannot be divorced. The exoteric 
aspect of Truth without the esoteric is hypocrisy, and the 
esoteric without the exoteric is heresy. So, with regard to 
the Law, mere formality is defective, while mere spirituality 
is vain. 

The Knowledge of the Truth (Haqtqat) has three pillars 
S(i} Knowledge of the Essence and Unity of God. 

(2) Knowledge of the Attributes of God. 

(3) Knowledge of the Actions and Wisdom of God. 

The Knowledge of the Law (Shari af) also has three 

(1) The Koran. 

(2) The Sunna. 

(3) The Consensus (ijmd^ of the Moslem community. 

Knowledge of the Divine Essence involves recognition, on 
the part of one who is reasonable and has reached puberty, 
that God exists externally by His essence, that He is infinite 
and not bounded by space, that His essence is not the cause 
of evil, that none of His creatures is like unto Him, that 
He has neither wife nor child, and that He is the Creator 
and Sustainer of all that your imagination and intellect can 

Knowledge of the Divine Attributes requires you to know 
that God has attributes existing in Himself, which are not 
He nor a part of Him, but exist in Him and subsist by 
Him, e.g. Knowledge, Power, Life, Will, Hearing, Sight, 
Speech, etc. 

Knowledge of the Divine Actions is your knowledge that 
God is the Creator of mankind and of all their actions, that 
He brought the non-existent universe into being, that He 


predestines good and evil and creates all that is beneficial 
and injurious. 

Knowledge of the Law involves your knowing that God 
has sent us Apostles with miracles of an extraordinary nature ; 
that our Apostle, Muhammad (on whom be peace !), is a 
true Messenger, who performed many miracles, and that 
whatever he has told us concerning the Unseen and the Visible 
is entirely true. 


There is a sect of heretics called Sophists (Sufistd iydn\ who 
believe that nothing can be known and that knowledge itself 
does not. _exjst " I say to them: "You think that nothing 
can__be_Jknown ; is your opinion correct or not ? " If they 
answer "It is correct", they thereby affirm the reality of 
knowledge ; and if they reply " It is not correct ", then to 
argue against an avowedly incorrect assertion is absurd. 
The same doctrine is held by a sect of heretics who are 
connected with Sufiism. They say that, inasmuch as nothing 
is knowable, their negation of knowledge is more perfect than 
the affirmation of it. This statement proceeds from their 
folly and stupidity. The negation of knowledge must be 
the result either of knowledge or of ignorance. Now it is 
impossible for knowledge to deny knowledge ; therefore 
knowledge cannot be denied except by ignorance, which is 
nearly akin to infidelity and falsehood ; for there is no 
connexion between ignorance and truth . The doctrine in 
question is opposed to that of all the Sufi Shaykhs, but is 
commonly attributed to the Sufis in general by people who 
have heard it and embraced it. I commit them to God, 
with Whom it rests whether they shall continue in their error. 
If religion takes hold of them, they will behave more discreetly 
and will not misjudge the Friends of God in this way and 
will look more anxiously to what concerns themselves. 
Although some heretics claim to be Sufis in order to conceal 
their own foulness under the beauty of others, why should it 


be supposed that all Sufi s are like these pretenders, and that 
it is right to treat them all with disdain and contumely ? An 
individual who wished to pass for learned and orthodox, but 
really was devoid of knowledge and religion, once said to 
me in the course of debate : " There are twelve heretical 
sects, and one of them flourishes amongst those who profess 
Sufiism " (inutasawwifa). I replied : " If one sect belongs 
to us, eleven belong to you ; and the Sufis can protect 
themselves from one better than you can from eleven." All 
this heresy springs from the corruption and degeneracy of 
the times, but God has always kept His Saints hidden from 
the multitude and apart from the ungodly. Well said that 
eminent spiritual guide, All b. Bundar al-Sayrafi l : " The 
depravity of men s hearts is in proportion to the depravity 
of the age." 

Now in the following section I will cite some sayings of 
the Sufis as an admonition to those sceptics towards whom 
God is favourably inclined. 


Muhammad b. Fadl al-Balkhi says : " Knowledge is of three 
kinds -from God, with God, and of God." Knowledge of God 
is the science of Gnosis ( ( i7m-i mctrifat\ whereby He is known 
to all His prophets and saints. It cannot be acquired by 
ordinary means, but is the result of Divine guidance and 
information. Knowledge from God is the science of the Sacred 
Law (V////-2 shari af), which He has commanded and made 
obligatory upon us. Knowledge with God is the science of 
the " stations " and the " Path " and the degrees of the saints. 
Gnosis is unsound without acceptance of the Law, and the Law 
is not practised rightly unless the " stations " are manifested. 
-^ Abu All Thaqafi 2 says: Al-ilm Jiaydt al-qalb min al-jahl 
wa-nur al- l ayn min al-zulmat^ " Knowledge is the life of the 

1 A famous Sufi of Nishapur, who died in 359 A.H. (Nafahat, No. 118). 

2 Also a native of Nishapur. He died in 328 A.H. (Nafahdt, No. 248). 


heart, which delivers it from the death of ignorance : it is the 
light of the eye of faith, which saves it from the darkness of 
infidelity." The hearts of infidels are dead, because they are 
ignorant of God, and the hearts of the heedless are sick, because 
they are ignorant of His Commandments. Abu Bakr Warraq 
of Tirmiclh says : " Those who are satisfied with disputation 
(kaldni) about knowledge and do not practise asceticism (zuhd) 
become zindiqs (heretics) ; and those who are satisfied with 
jurisprudence (fig/i) and do not practise abstinence (warcf) 
become wicked." This means that Unification (tawhid), without 
works, is predestination (jabr\ whereas the assertor of Unifica 
tion ought to hold the doctrine of predestination but to act 
as though he believed in free will, taking a middle course 
between free will and predestination. Such is the true sense 
of another saying uttered by the same spiritual guide, viz. : 
" Unification is below predestination and above free will." 

Lack of positive religion and of morality arises from 
heedlessness {ghaflaf). Well said that great master, Yahya 
b. Mu adh al-Razi : " Avoid the society of three classes of men 
heedless savants, hypocritical Koran -readers, and ignorant 
pretenders to Sufiism." The heedless savants are they who 
have set their hearts on worldly gain and paid court to 
governors and tyrants, and have been seduced by their own 
cleverness to spend their time in subtle disputations, and have 
attacked the leading authorities on religion. The hypocritical 
Koran -readers are they who praise whatever is done in 
accordance with their desire, even if it is bad, and blame 
whatever they dislike, even if it is "goodTTHey "seek to ingratiate 
themselves with the people by acting hypocritically. The 
ignorant pretenders to Sufiism are they who have never 
associated with a spiritual director (pir\ nor learned discipline 
from a shaykh, but without any experience have thrown If** 
themselves among the people, and have donned a blue mantle i 
(kabi idi\ and have trodden the path of unrestraint. 

Abu Yazfd Bistami says : " I strove in the spiritual combat 
for thirty years, and I found nothing harder to me than 



knowledge and its pursuit" It is more easy for human nature 
to walk on fire than to follow the road of knowledge, and an 
ignorant heart will more readily cross the Bridge (Sirdf} 
a thousand times than learn a single piece of knowledge ; and 
the wicked man would rather pitch his tent in Hell than put 
one item of knowledge into practice. Accordingly you must 
learn knowledge and seek perfection therein. The perfection 
of human knowledge is ignorance of Divine knowledge. You 
must know enough to know that you do not know. That is 
to say, human knowledge is alone possible to Man, and 
humanity is the greatest barrier that separates him from 
Divinity. As the poet says : 

Al-ajzu an daraki l-idrdki idrdku 
Wa l-waqfu fi tnruqi l-akhydri ishrdku. 
" True perception is to despair of attaining perception, 
But not to advance on the paths of the virtuous is polytheism." 

He who will not learn and perseveres in his ignorance is 
a polytheist, but to the learner, when his knowledge becomes 
perfect, the reality is^revealed. and he perceives that his 
knowledge is no more than inability to know what his end 
shall be, since realities are not affected by the names bestowed 
upon them. 


Know that Poverty has a high rank in the Way of Truth, 
and that the poor are greatly esteemed, as God said : " (Give 
alms) unto tJie poor y ivho are kept fighting in God^s cause and 
cannot go to and fro on tJie earth ; whom the ignorant deem 
rich forasmuch as they refrain (from begging)." x And again : 
" Their sides are lifted from their beds while they call on their 
Lord in fear and hope" (Kor. xxxii, 16). Moreover, the 
Prophet chose poverty and said : " O God, make me live lowly 
and die .lowly and rise from the dead amongst the lowly!" 
And he also said : " On the day of Resurrection God will say, 
Bring ye My loved ones nigh unto Me; then the angels will 
say, Who are Thy loved ones? and God will answer them, 
saying, * The poor and destitute. " There are many verses 
of the Koran and Traditions to the same effect, which on 
account of their celebrity need not be mentioned here. Among 
the Refugees (Muhdjiriii) in the Prophet s time were poor men 
(fuqard) who sat in his mosque and devoted themselves to the 
worship of God, and firmly believed that God would give them 
their daily bread, and put their trust (tawakkul) in Him. The 
Prophet was enjoined to consort with them and take due care 
of them ; for God said : "Do not repulse those who call on their 
Lord in the morning and in the evening, desiring His favour" 
(Kor. vi, 52). Hence, whenever the Prophet saw one of them, 
he used to say : " May my father and mother be your sacrifice ! 
since it was for your sakes that God reproached me."-. 

God, therefore, has exalted Povert^anoThas made* it a special 
distinction of the poor, who have renounced all things^ external 

1 Kor. ii, 274. 



/ and internal, and have turned entirely to the Causer ; whose 
poverty has become their pride, so that they lamented its going 
and rejoiced at its coming, and embraced it and deemed all 
else contemptible. 

Now, Poverty has a form (rasm} and an essence (haqiqaf). 
Its form is destitution and indjgence, but its essence is fortune_ 
and free^choice. ,"" He who regards the form rests in the form 
and, failing to attain his object, flees from the essence ; but_ 
he who has found the essence averts his gaze from all created 
things^ andjn complete annihilation, seeing only the All-One 
he hastens towards the fullness of eternal life (ba-fand-yi kulj 
andar""7u yat-i kull ba-baqd-yi kull shitdff). The poor man 
(faqir) has nothing and can suffer no loss. He does not 
become rich by having anything, nor indigent by having 
nothing : both these conditions are alike to him in respect of 
his poverty. It is permitted that he should be more joyful 
when he has nothing, for the Shaykhs have said: "The more 
straitened one is in circumstances, the more expansive (cheerful 
and happy) is one s (spiritual) state," because it is unlucky 
for a dervish to have property: if he "imprisons" anything 
(dar band kunad) for his own use, he himself is " imprisoned " 
in the same proportion. The friends of God live by means 
of His secret bounties. Worldly wealth holds them back from 
the path of quietism (rida). 

Story. A dervish met a king. The king said : " Ask a boon 
of me? The dervish replied : " I will not ask a boon from one 
oTmy slaves." "How is that?" said the king. The dervish 
said : " I have two slaves who are thy masters : covetousness 
and expectation." 

The Prophet said : " Poverty is glorious to those who are^ 
worthy of it." Its glory consists in this, that Jhe poor jnan s 
body is divinely preserved from base and sinful acts, and his 
heart from evil and contaminating thoughts, because his 
outwar5~parts are absorbed in (contemplation of) the manifest 
blessings of God, while his inward parts are protected_by 
invisible grace^ so that his body is spiritual (rrf^wOjjndjMS^ 


heart divmeJmMnt). Thenjio r el a tip n,_subs i s ts between^ him_ 

and mankind ; this world and the next weigh less than a gnat s 
wing in the scales of his poverty : he is not contained in the 
two worlds for a single moment. 


The Sufi Shaykhs differ in opinion as to whether poverty 
or wealth is superior, both being regarded as human attributes ; 
for true wealth (gliina] belongs to God, who is perfect in all 
His attributes. Yahya b. Mu adh al-Razi, Ahmad b. Abi 1- 
Hawari, Harith al-Muhasibi, Abu !- Abbas b. Ata, Ruwaym, 
Abu 1-Hasan b. Sim un, 1 and among the moderns the Grand 
Shaykh Abu Sa id Fadlallah b. Muhammad al-Mayhani, all 
hold the view that wealth is superior to poverty. They argue 
that wealth is an attribute of God, whereas poverty cannot 
be ascribed to Him : therefore an attribute common to God 
and Man is superior to one that is not applicable to God. 
I answer : "This community of designation is merely nominal, 
and has no existence in reality : real community involves 
mutual resemblance, but the Divine attributes are eternal and 
the human attributes are created ; hence your proof is false." 
I,__who am All b. Uthman al-Jullabi, declare that wealth is 
a term that may fitly be applied to God, but one to which 
Man has no right ; while poverty is a term that may properly 
be applied to Man, but not to God., Metaphorically a man 
is called " rich ", but he is not really so. Again, to give 
a clearer proof, human wealth is an enect due to various 
causes, whereas the wealth of God, who Himself is the Author 
of all causes, is not due to any cause. Therefore there is no 
community in regard to this attribute. It is not allowable 
to associate anything with God either in essence, attribute, 
or name. The wealth of God consists in His independence 
of anyone and in His power to do whatsoever He wills : such 
He has always been and such He shall be for ever. Man s 

1 See Nafahdt, No. 291, where his "name of honour " is given as Abu 1-Husayn. 


wealth, on the other hand, is, for example, a means of 
livelihood, or the presence of joy, or the being saved from sin, 
or the solace of contemplation ; which things are all of 
phenomenal nature and subject to change. 

Furthermore, some of the vulgar prefer the rich man to 
the poor, on the ground that God has made the former 
blest in both worlds and has bestowed the benefit of riches 
on him. Here they mean by " wealth " abundance of worldly 
goods and enjoyment of pleasures and pursuit of lusts. 
They argue that God has commanded us to be thankful 
for wealth and patient in poverty, i.e. patient in adversity 
and thankful in prosperity ; and that prosperity is essentially 
better than adversity. To this I reply that, when God 
commanded us to be thankful for prosperity He made thank 
fulness the means of increasing our prosperity ; but when 
He commanded us to be patient in adversity He made 
patience the means of drawing nigh unto Himself. He said : 
" Verily, if ye return tlianks, I will give you an increase " 
(Kor. xiv, 7), and also, " God is with the patient" (Kor. ii, 148). 

The Shaykhs who prefer wealth to poverty do not use 
the term " wealth " in its popular sense. What they intend 
is not " acquisition of a benefit " but " acquisition of the 
Benefactor " ; to gain union (with God) is a different thing 
from gaining forgetfulness (of God). Shaykh Abu Sa id 1 - 
God have mercy on him ! says : " Poverty is wealth in God " 
(al-faqr htiwa 1-gJiind billdk}, i.e. everlasting revelation of 
the Truth. I answer to this, that revelation (inukdsliafaf] 
implies the possibility of a veil (Jiijdti) ; therefore, if the 
person who enjoys revelation is veiled from revelation by 
the attribute of wealth, he either becomes in need of revelation 
or he does not ; if he does not, the conclusion is absurd, and 
if he does, need is incompatible with wealth ; therefore that 
term cannot stand. Besides, no one has " wealth in God " 
unless his attributes are permanent and his object is invariable ; 
wealth cannot coincide with the subsistence of an object or 
1 See Chapter XII, No. 5. 


with the affirmation of the attributes of human nature, inasmuch 
as the essential characteristics of mortality and phenomenal 
being are need and indigence. One whose attributes still 
survive is not rich, and one whose attributes are annihilated 
is not entitled to any name whatever. Therefore "the rich 
man is he who is enriched by God " (al-ghani man agJindhu 
lld/t), because the term " rich in God " refers to the agent 
(fd t f), whereas the term " enriched by God " denotes the 
person acted upon (iiiaf ul] ; the former is self-subsistent, 
but the latter subsists through the agent ; accordingly self- 
Subsistence is an attribute of human nature, while subsistence 
through God involves the annihilation of attributes. I, then, 
who am All b. Uthman al-Jullabi, assert that true wealth 
is incompatible with the survival (baqd) of any attribute, 
since human attributes have already been shown to be 
defective and subject to decay ; nor, again, does wealth 
consist in the annihilation of these attributes, because a 
name cannot be given to an attribute that no longer exists, 
and he whose attributes are annihilated cannot be called 
either " poor " or " rich " ; therefore the attribute of wealth 
is not transferable from God to Man, and the attribute of 
poverty is not transferable from Man to God. 

All the Sufi Shaykhs and most of the vulgar prefer poverty 
to wealth for the reason that the Koran and the Sunna 
expressly declare it to be superior, and herein the majority 
of Moslems are agreed. I find, among the anecdotes which 
I have read, that on one occasion this question was discussed 
by Junayd and Ibn Ata. The latter maintained the superiority 
of the rich. He argued that at the Resurrection they would 
be called to account for their wealth, and that such an account 
(hisdb] entails the hearing of the Divine Word, without any 
mediation, in the form of reproach {^itdb} : and reproach is 
addressed by the Beloved to the lover. Junayd answered : 
"If He will call the rich to account, He will ask the poor 
for their excuse ; and asking an excuse is better than calling 
to account." This is a very subtle point. In true love excuse 


is "otherness" (begdnagi^ and reproach is contrary to unity 
(yagdnagi). Lovers regard both these things as a blemish, 
because excuse is made for some disobedience to the command 
of the Beloved and reproach is made on the same score ; 
but both are impossible in true love, for then neither does 
the Beloved require an expiation from the lover nor does the 
lover neglect to perform the will of the Beloved. 

Every man is " poor ", even though he be a prince. Essentially 
the wealth of Solomon and the poverty of Solomon are one. 
God said to Job in the extremity of his patience, and likewise to 
Solomon in the plenitude of his dominion : " Good servant that 
thou art!" 1 When God s pleasure was accomplished, it made 
no difference between the poverty and the wealth of Solomon. 

The author says : " I have heard that Abu 1-Qasim Qushayri 
God have mercy on him ! said : People have spoken much 
concerning poverty and wealth, and have chosen one or~tlie 
other for themselves, but I choose whichever state God chooses 
for me and keeps me in; if He keeps me rich I will not be 
forgetful, and if He wishes me to be poor I will not be covetous 
and rebellious. " Therefore, both wealth and poverty are 
Divine gifts: wealth is corrupted by forgetful ness, poverty by 
covetousnes"s. Both conceptions are excellent, but they differ in 
practice. Poverty is the separation of the heart from all but 
God, and wealth is the preoccupation of the heart with that 
which does not admit of being qualified. When the heart is 
cleared (of all except God), poverty is not better than wealth 
nor is wealth better than poverty. Wealth is abundance of 
worldly goods and poverty is lack of them : all goods belong to 
God : when the seeker bids farewell to property, the antithesis 
disappears and both terms are transcended. 


All the Sufi Shaykhs have spoken on the subject of poverty. 
I will now cite as many of their sayings as it is possible to 
include in this book. 

1 Kor. xxxviii, 29, 44. 


One of the moderns says : Laysa ^l-faqir man kJiald min 
al-zdd : innaina ^l-faqir man khald min al-murdd> "The poor 
man is not he whose hand is empty of provisions, but he whose 
nature is empty of desires." For example, if God gives him 
money and he desires to keep it, then he is rich ; and if he 
desires to renounce it, he is rich no less, because poverty 
consists in ceasing to act on one s own initiative. Yahya b. 
Mu adh al-Razi says: Al-faqr khaivf al-faqr, "It is a sign of 
true poverty that, although one has reached the perfection of 
saintship and contemplation and self-annihilation, one should 
always be dreading its decline and departure." And Ruwaym 
says : Min na l f al-faqir hifzu sirriJiiwa-siydnatu nafsiJii wa-add ti 
faridatihi, " It is characteristic of the poor man that his heart is 
protected from selfish cares, and that his soul is guarded from 
contaminations, and that he performs the obligatory duties of 
religion : " that is to say, his inward meditations do not 
interfere with his outward acts, nor vice versa ; which is a sign 
that he has cast off the attributes of mortality. Bishr Haft 
says : Afdal al-maqdmdt i^tiqdd al-sabr ala l-faqr ila ^l-qabr, 
"The best of stations is a firm resolution to endure poverty 
continually." Now poverty is the annihilation of all "stations" : 
therefore the resolution to endure poverty is a sign of regarding 
works and actions as imperfect, and of aspiring to annihilate 
human attributes. But in its obvious sense this saying 
pronounces poverty to be superior to wealth, and expresses 
a determination never to abandon it. Shibli says: Al-faqir 
man Id yastaghni bi-sJiay in duna lldli, "The poor man does not 
rest content with anything except God," because he has no 
other object of desire. Thejiteral meaning is that you will not 
become rich except by Him, and that when you have gained 
Him you have become rich. Your being, then, is other than God ; 
and since you cannot gain wealth except by renouncing "other", 
your "you-ness " is a veil between you and wealth : when that 7s 
removed, you are rich. This saying is very subtle and obscure. 
In the opinion of advanced spiritualists (ahl-i haqiqaf) it means : 
Al-faqr an Id yustaghnd ^anhu^ " Poverty consists in never 


being independent of poverty." This is what the Pir, i.e. Master 
Abdallah Ansari may God be well-pleased with him ! 
meant when he said that our sorrow is everlasting, that out- 
aspiration never reaches its goal, and that our sum (kulliyyaf) 
never becomes non-existent in this world or the next, because 
for the fruition of anything homogeneity is necessary, but God 
has no congener, and for turning away from Him forgetfulness 
is necessary, but the dervish is not forgetful. What an endless 
task, what a difficult road ! The dead (/dm) never become 
living (bdqi\ so as to be united with Him ; the living never 
become dead, so as to approach His presence. All that His 
lovers do and suffer is entirely a probation (mihnai) ; but in 
order to console themselves they have invented a fine-sounding 
phraseology ^ibdrati muzakhraf) and have produced "stations" 
and "stages" and a "path". Their symbolic expressions, 
however, begin and end in themselves, and their " stations " do 
not rise beyond their own gemis, whereas God is exempt from 
every human attribute and relationship. Abu 1-Hasan Nun 
says : Nctt al-faqir al-snkun l inda l- adam wa l-badhl inda 7- 
wujud\ and he says also: Al-idtirdb inda l-ivuji id, "When 
he gets nothing he is silent, and when he gets something he 
regards another person as better entitled to it than himself, and 
therefore gives it away." The practice enunciated in this saying 
is of great importance. There are two meanings: (i) His 
quiescence when he gets nothing is satisfaction (ridd], and his 
liberality when he gets something is love (mahabbaf], because 
" satisfied " means " accepting a robe of honour " (qdbil-i khil^af), 
and the robe of honour is a token of proximity (gurbat\ whereas 
the lover (inuhibfr] rejects the robe of honour inasmuch as it is 
a token of severance (furqaf) ; and (2) his quiescence when he 
gets nothing is expectation of getting something, and when he 
has got it, that "something" is other than Gocl : he cannot be 
satisfied with anything other than God ; therefore he rejects it. 
Both these meanings are implicit in the saying of the Grand 

1 The celebrated mystic of Herat, who died in 481 A.II. See Professor Browne s 
Literary History of Per si a > vol. ii, p. 269. 


Shaykh, Abu 1-Qasim Junayd : Al-faqr khuluww al-qalb an 
al-ashkdl, " When his heart is empty of phenomena he is poor." 
Since the existence of phenomena is "other" (than God), rejection 
is the only course possible. Shibli says : Al-faqr bahr al-bald 
wa-bald u/iu kulluhu izz 1 " 1 , " Poverty is a sea of trouble, and all 
troubles for His sake are glorious." Glory is a portion of 
" other ". The afflicted are plunged in trouble and know 
nothing of glory, until they forget their trouble and regard the 
Author thereof. Then their trouble is changed into glory, and 
their glory into a spiritual state (waqt), and their spiritual state 
into love, and their love into contemplation, so that finally the 
brain of the aspirant becomes wholly a centre of vision through 
the predominance of his imagination : he sees without eye, and 
hears without ear. Again, it is glorious for a man to bear the 
burden of trouble laid upon him by his Beloved, for in truth 
misfortune is glory, and prosperity is humiliation. Glory is that 
which makes one present with God, and humiliation is that 
which makes one absent from God : the affliction of poverty is 
a sign of " presence ", while the delight of riches is a sign of 
" absence ". Therefore one should cling to trouble of any 
description that involves contemplation and intimacy. Junayd 
says : Yd mtfshar al-fuqard innakum tu rafuna billdh wa-tukra- 
muna lilldlifa-nzuru kayfa takiintina ma a lldh id/id khalawtuin 
bihi, " O ye that are poor, ye are known through God, and are 
honoured for the sake of God : take heed how ye behave when 
ye are alone with Him," i.e. if people call you "poor" and 
recognize your claim, see that you perform the obligations of 
the path of poverty ; and if they give you another name, 
inconsistent with what you profess, do not accept it, but fulfil 
your professions. The_basest of men is he who is thought to be 
devoted to God, but really is not ; and the noblest is he who is 
not thought to be devoted to God, but really is. The former 
resembles an ignorant physician, who pretends to cure people, 
but only makes them worse, and when he falls ill himself needs 
another physician to prescribe for him ; and the latter is like 
one who is not known to be a physician, and does not concern 


himself with other folk, but employs his skill in order to 
maintain his own health. One of the moderns has said: 
Al-faqr <adam bild wujiid* , "Poverty is not-being without 
existence." To interpret this saying is impossible, because 
what is non-existent does not admit of being explained. On 
the surface it would seem that, according to this dictum, poverty 
is nothing, but such is not the case; the explanations and 
consensus of the Saints of God are not founded on a principle 
that is essentially non-existent. The meaning here is not " the 
not-being of the essence", but "the not-being of that which 
contaminates the essence"; and all human attributes are 
a source of contamination : when that is removed, the result is 
annihilation of the attributes (fand-yi sifat\ which deprives the 
sufferer of the instrument whereby he attains, or fails to attain, 
his object ; but his not-going to the essence ( adam-i rawisk 
ba- ayii) seems to him annihilation of the essence and casts him 
into perdition. 

I have met with some scholastic philosophers who, failing 
to understand the drift of this saying, laughed at it and 
declared it to be nonsense ; and also with certain pretenders 
(to Sufiism) who made nonsense of it and were firmly convinced 
of its truth, although they had no grasp of the fundamental 
principle. Both parties are in the wrong: one ignorantly 
denies the truth, and the other makes ignorance a state (of 
perfection). Now the expressions "not-being" ( adaiii) and 
" annihilation " (fand\ as they are used by Sufi s, denote the 
disappearance of a blameworthy instrument (alat-i madhmnm") 
and disapproved attribute in the course of seeking a praise 
worthy attribute ; they do not signify the search for non-reality 
(^adam-i mtfnf) by means of an instrument which exists. 

Dervishhood in all its meanings is a metaphorical poverty, 
and amidst all its subordinate aspects there is a transcendent 
principle. The Divine mysteries come and go over the dervish, 
so that his affairs are acquired by himself, his actions attributed 
to himself, and his ideas attached to himself. But when his 
affairs are freed from the bonds of acquisition (kasb\ his actions 


are no more attributed to himself. Then he is the Way, not 
the wayfarer, i.e. the dervish is a place over which something 
is passing, not a wayfarer following his own will. Accordingly, 
he neither draws anything to himself nor puts anything away 
from himself: all that leaves any trace upon him belongs to 
the essence. 

I have seen false Sufis, mere tonguesters (arbdb al-lisdn\ 
whose imperfect apprehension of this matter seemed to deny 
the existence of the essence of poverty, while their lack of 
desire for the reality of poverty seemed to deny the attributes 
of its essence. They called by the name of " poverty " and 
" purity " their failure to seek Truth and Reality, and it looked 
as though they affirmed their own fancies but denied all else. 
Every one of them was in some degree veiled from poverty, 
because the conceit of Sufi ism (pinddr-i in haditli) betokens 
perfection of saintship, and the claim to be suspected of Sufiism 
(tawalld-yi tuhmat-i * in haditli] is the ultimate goal, i.e. this 
claim belongs only to the state of perfection. Therefore the 
seeker has no choice but to journey in their path and to traverse 
their " stations " and to know their symbolic expressions, in 
order that he may not be a plebeian ( #;;//; ) among the elect. 
Those who are ignorant of general principles (^awdinm-i usul) 
have no ground to stand on, whereas those who are ignorant 
only as regards the derivative branches are supported by the 
principles. I have said all this to encourage you to undertake 
this spiritual journey and occupy yourself with the due fulfil 
ment of its obligations. 

Now in the chapter on Sufiism I will explain some of the 
principles and allegories and mystic sayings of this sect. Then 
I will mention the names of their holy men, and afterwards 
elucidate the different doctrines held by the Sufi Shaykhs. 
In the next place, I will treat of the Verities, Sciences, and 
Laws of Sufiism. Lastly, I will set forth their rules of discipline 
and the significance of their " stations ", in order that the truth 
of this matter may become clear to you and to all my readers. 


God, Almighty and Glorious, has said : " And those who walk 
meekly on tJie earth, and when the ignorant speak to them 
answer Peace ," (shall be rewarded with the highest place in 
Paradise). 1 And the Apostle has said : " He that hears the 
voice of Sufis (ahl al-tasawivuf) and does not say Amen 
to their prayer is inscribed before God among the heedless." 
The true meaning of this name has been much discussed 
and many books have been composed on the subject. Some 
assert that the Sufi is so called because he wears a woollen 
garment (jdma -i suf} ; others that he is so called because 
he is in the first rank (saff-i awwal) ; others say it is 
because the Sufis claim to belong to the Ashdb-i Suffa^ 
with whom may God be well-pleased ! Others, again, declare 
that the name is derived from sofa (purity). These explana 
tions of the true meaning of Sufiism are far from satisfying 
the requirements of etymology, although each of them is 
supported by many subtle arguments. Safd (purity) is 
universally praised, and its opposite is kadar. The Apostle 
on whom be peace ! said : " The safw (pure part, i.e. the 
best) of this world is gone, and only its kadar (impurity) 
remains." Therefore, since the people of this persuasion 
have purged their morals and conduct, and have sought to 
free themselves from natural taints, on that account they 
are called Sufis ; and this designation of the sect is a proper 
name (as asdmi-yi a l ldm\ inasmuch as the dignity of the 
Sufis is too great for their transactions (inu dmaldt) to be 
hidden, so that their name should need a derivation. In_ 
this age, however, God has veiled most people from Sufiism 

1 Kor. xxv, 64. 2 See Chapter IX. 


and from its votaries, and has concealed its mysteries from 
their hearts. Accordingly some imagine that it consists 
merely in the practice of outward piety without inward 
contemplation, and others suppose that it is a form and a 
system without essence and root, to such an extent that 
they have adopted the view of scoffers (aJil-i hazl) and 
theologians (^ulamd), who regard only the external, and have 
condemned Sufiism altogether, making no attempt to discover 
what it really is. The people in general, blindly conforming 
to this opinion, have erased from their hearts the .quest for 
inward purit^jind have discarded the tenets of the Ancients 
and the Companions of the Prophet. Verity, purity h 
characteristic of the Siddiq^ if thou desirest a true Sufi 
because purity (safd) has a root and a branch : its root being 
severance of the heart from " others " (aghycr\ and its 
branch that the heart should be empty of this deceitful 
world. Both these are characteristic of the Greatest Siddiq, 
(the Caliph) Abu Bakr Abdallah b. Abi Quhafa, with whom 
may God be well-pleased ! He is the leader (imam) of all 
the folk of this Path. 

[The author then relates how, on Muhammad s decease, 
when Umar threatened to decapitate anyone who asserted 
that the Prophet was dead, Abu Bakr stepped forth and 
cried with a loud voice : " Whoever worships Muhammad, let 
him know that Muhammad is dead ; but whoever worships 
Muhammad s Lord, let him know that HE is living and 
dieth not." Those who regarded Muhammad with the 
eye of mortality ceased to venerate him as soon as he 
departed from this world, but to those who regarded him 
with the eye of reality his presence and absence were alike, 
because they attributed both to God ; and looked, not at 
the particular change which had come to pass, but at the 
Author of all change ; and venerated Muhammad only 

1 The name zaddlq (an Aramaic word meaning "righteous") was given to 
the ascetics and spiritual adepts among the Manichseans. Its Arabic equivalent, 
siddiq, which means " veracious ", is a term that is frequently applied to Sufis. 


in proportion as God honoured him ; and did not attach 
their hearts to anyone (except God) ; and did not open 
their eyes to gaze upon mankind, inasmuch as "he that 
beholdeth mankind waneth, but he that returneth unto 
God reiometh " (man nasara ila l-khalq halak wa-man rajcta 
ila l-haqq //*) A"d Abu Bakr showed that his heart 
was empty of this deceitful world, for he gave away all 
his wealth and his clients (i,tawdU\ and clad himself in 
a woollen garment (giUm), and came to the Apostle, who 
asked him what he had left for his family. Abu Bakr 
replied : " Only God and His Apostle." All this is charac 
teristic of the sincere Sufi.] 

I said that safd (purity) is the opposite of kadar (impurity), , 
wAkadar is one of the qualities of Man. The true Sufi isjie 
that leaves impurity behind. Thus, human nature (bashariyyaf) 
prevailed in the women of Egypt as they gazed, enraptured, 
on the wondrous beauty of Yusuf (Joseph), on whom be peace 
But afterwards the preponderance was reversed, until at last 
they beheld him with their human nature annihilated (ba-fand-yi 
bashariyyaf) and cried : " This is no human being" (Kor. xii, 31)- 
They made him their object and gave expression to their own 
state. Hence the Shaykhs of this Path - God have mercy 
on them!- have said: Laysa l-safd min si/at al-bashar li anna 
l-bashar madar wa l-madar Id yakhlu min al-kadar, " Purity 
is not one of the qualities of Man, for Man is clay, and clay 
involves impurity, and Man cannot escape from impurity." 
Therefore purity bears no likeness to acts (afdt), nor can the 
human nature be destroyed by means of effort. The quality 
- of purity is unrelated to acts and states, and its name is 
unconnected with names and nicknames-/;;//y w characteristic^ 
of the lovers (of God), who are suns -without c/wrf-because 
purity is the attribute of those who love, and the lover is he 
that is dead (fan!) in his own attributes and living (bdqi) in 
the attributes of his Beloved, and their ""states" resemble the 
clear sun in the opinion of mystics (arbdb-i hdl). The beloved 


of God, Muhammad the Chosen One, was asked concerning 
the state of Haritha. He answered : Abd nawwara 

qalbaJiu bi l-imdn t lie is a man whose heart is illumined by 
the light of faith, so that his face shines like the moon from the 
effect thereof, and he is formed by the Divine light." An 

eminent Sufi" says : Diyd al-sJiauis ivdl-qatnar idJia ^shtarakd 
nainudliaj 1 " 1 min safci al-kubb wa ^l-tawkid idJia s/itabakd, " The 
combination of_ the _ Hgh t p the sun and moon, when they "are 
in conjunction, is like the purity of Love and Uniflcation x _when . 
these are mingled togelhgr. " __ Assuredly, the light of the sun 
and moon is worthless beside the light of the Love and 
Unification of God Almighty, and they should not t5e com 
pared ; but in this world there is no light more conspicuous 
than those two luminaries. The eye cannot see the light of 
the sun and moon with complete demonstration. During the 
sway of the sun and moon it sees the slcy, whereas the heart 
(dil) sees the empyrean (^ars/i) by the light of knowledge and. 
unification and love, and while still in this world explores the 
world to come. All the Shaykhs of this Path are agreed 
that when a man has escaped from the captivity of " stations " 
(inaqdindf)) and gets rid of the impurity of " states " (a/iwd/), 
and is liberated from the abode of change and decay, and 
becomes endowed with all praiseworthy qualities, he is disjoined 
from all qualities. That is to say, he is not held in bondage 
by any praiseworthy quality of his own, nor does he regard it, 
nor is he made self- conceited thereby. His state is hidden 
from the perception of intelligences, and his time is exempt 
from the influence of thoughts. His presence (Jmdur) with 
God has no end and his existence has no cause. And when 
he arrives at this degree, he becomes annihilated (fdni) in this 
world and in the next, and is made divine (rabbdni) in the 
disappearance of humanity ; and gold and earth are the same 
in his eyes, and the ordinances which others find hard to keep ^ 
become easy to him. 

[Here follows the story of Haritha, who declared that he 
had true faith in God. The Prophet asked : " What is the 




reality of thy faith ? " Haritha replied : " I have cut off and 
turned myself away from this world, so that its stones and 
its gold and its silver and its clay are equal in my sight. 
And I have passed my nights in vvakefulness and my days in 
thirst until methinks I see the Throne of my Lord manifest, 
and the people of Paradise visiting one another, and the 
people of Hell wrestling with one another" 1 (or, according 
to an alternative reading : " making sudden attacks on one 
another "). 2 The Prophet said, repeating the words thrice : 
" Thou knowest, therefore persevere."] 

"Sufi" is a name which is given, and has formerly been 
given, to the perfect saints and spiritual adepts. One of the 
Shaykhs says : Man saffdhu l-hubb fa-hmva sdf in wa-man 
saffdhu l-habibfa-huwa Siifiyy u \ " He that is purified by love is 
pure, and he that is absorbed in the Beloved and has abandoned 
all else is a Sufi ." The_name has no derivation answering to 
etymological requirements, inasmuch as Sufiism is too exalted 
to have any genus from which it might be derived ; Jbr the 
derivation of one thing from another demands 

(mujdnasat}. All that exists is the opposite of purity (safd\ 
and things are not derived from their opposites. To Sufis the 
meaning of Sufiism is clearer than the sun and does not need 
any explanation or indication. Since "Sufi" admits of no 
explanation, all the world are interpreters thereof, whether they 
recognize the dignity of the name or no at the time when they 
learn its meaning. The perfect, then, among them are called 
Sufi, and the inferior aspirants (tdlibdri) among them are called 
Mutasawwif; for tasawwuf belongs to the form tafcful, which 
implies "taking trouble" (takalluf^ and is a branch of the 
original root. The difference both in meaning and in etymology 

1 Yatasdra iin. B. hzsyata tidawH, and in marg. yatasdra tin. The true reading 
is yata diuawit, "barking (or growling ) at one another." Cf. Lisdn, xix, 343, 3. 

2 Yataghdwarun. This is the reading of J.. I. has yata dwanin, L. yata dwadun, 
R.yataghdmaziin, and in marg. yatafdwaziin. 

3 Examples of this signification of the form tortz"/are given in Wright s Arabic 
Grammar, vol. i, p. 37, Rem. b. 


is evident. Purity (safa) is a saintship ivith a sign and a relation 
(riwdyaf), and Sufiism (tasawwuf) is an uncomplaining imitation 
of purity (Jiikdyat un li l-safd bild sliikdyat). Purity, then, is 
a resplendent and manifest idea, and Sufiism is an imitation of 
that idea. Its followers in this degree are of three kinds : the 
Sufi, the Mutasawwif, and the Mustaswif. The Sufi is he 
that is dead to self and living by the Truth; he has escaped 
from the grip of human faculties and has really attained (to 
God). The Mutasawwif "is he that seeks to reach this rank by 
means of self-mortification (mujd/iadaf) and in his search 
rectifies his conduct in accordance with their (the Sufis ) 
example. The Mustaswif is he that makes himself like them 
(the Sufis) for the sake of money and wealth and power and 
worldly advantage, but has no knowledge of these two things. 1 
Hence it has been said : Al-mustaswif inda l-Sufiyyat ka-l- 
dliubdb wa- l inda ghayrihim ka-l-dhVab^ " The Mustaswif in the 
opinion of the Sufis is as despicable as flies, and his actions are 
mere cupidity ; others regard him as being like a wolf, and his 
speech unbridled (be afsar), for he only desires a morsel of 
carrion." Therefore the Sufi is a man of umon^(sdkib wusiil^ 
the Mutasawwif a man of principles (sahib ustil)> and the 
Mustaswif a man of superfluities (sahib fudul). He that has 
the portion of union loses all end and object by gaining his end 
and reaching his object ; he that has the portion of principle 
becomes firm in the "states" of the mystic path, and steadfastly 
devoted to the mysteries thereof; but he that has the portion of 
superfluity, is left devoid of all (worth having), and sits down at 
the gate of formality (rasm\ and thereby he is veiled from 
reality (inctnl\ and this veil renders both union and principle 
jnvisible to him. The Shaykhs of this persuasion have given 
many subtle definitions of Sufiism which cannot all be 
enumerated, but we shall mention some of them in this book, 
if God will, who is the Author of success. 

1 Viz., purity (safd} and Sufiism (tasawwu/}. 



Dhu 1-Nun, the Egyptian^ says : Al-Sufi idhd nataqa bdna 
nutquJiu l aii al-haqd iq wa-iii sakata nataqat l anhu l-jawdrih 
bi-qaf al-ald iq, " The Sufi is he whose language, when he 
speaks, is the reality of his state, i.e. he says nothing which 
he is not, and when he is silent his conduct explains his 
state, and his state proclaims that he has cut all worldly 
ties ; " i.e. all that he says is based on a sound principle and 
all that he does is pure detachment from the world (to/rid] \ 
W hen he speaks his speech is entirely the Truth, and when 
he is silent his actions are wholly " poverty " (faqr}. Junayd 
says: Al-tasawwuf nctt un uqima l- abd fihi qila na t un li-l-abd 
am li-l-haqq faqdla na t al-kaqq haqiqat an iva-na t al-abd 
rasm an , " Sufiism is an attribute wherein is Man s subsistence." 
They said: "Is it an attribute of God or of mankind?" He 
replied : " Its essence is an attribute of God and its formal 
system is an attribute of mankind ; " i.e. its essence involves 
the annihilation of human qualities, which is brought about 
by the everlastingness of the Divine qualities, and this is an 
attribute of God ; whereas its formal system involves on the 
part of Man the continuance of self-mortification (inujdhadat\ 
and this continuance of self-mortification is an attribute of 
Man. Or the words may be taken in another sense, namely, 
that in real Unification (tawhid) there are, correctly speaking, 
no human attributes at all, because human attributes are 
not constant but are only formal (rasm\ having no permanence, 
for God is the agent. Therefore they are really the attributes 
of God. Thus (to explain what is meant), God commands 
His servants to fast, and when they keep the fast He gives 
them the name of " faster " (sd im\ and nominally this 
" fasting" (sawui) belongs to Man, but really it belongs to God. 
Accordingly God told His Apostle and said : Al-sawm It 
wa-ana ajzi bilii, "Fasting is mine," because all His acts are 
His possessions, and when men ascribe things to themselves, 
the attribution is formal and metaphorical, not real. And 
Abu__ J-Hasan Nuri says: Al-tasawwuf tarku kulli hazf 1 


li-l-nafs, " Sufiism is the renunciation of all selfish pleasures." 
This renunciation is of two kinds : formal and essential. 
For example, if one renounces a pleasure, and finds pleasure 
in the renunciation, this is formal renunciation ; but if the 
pleasure renounces him, then the pleasure is annihilated, and 
this case falls under the head of true contemplation (umshdhadat). 
Therefore renunciation of pleasure is the act of Man, but 
annihilation of pleasure is the act of God. The act of Man 
is formal and metaphorical, while the act of God is real. 
This saying (of Nun) elucidates the saying of Junayd which 
has been quoted above. And Abu 1-Hasan Nun also says : 
Al-Sttfiyyat Jiumu lladhina safat arwdhuhuin fa-sdru fi l-saff 
al-awwal bayna yadayi l-haqq, " The Sufis are they whose 
spirits have been freed from the pollution of humanity, 
purified from carnal taint, and released from concupiscence, 
To~~that they havcTlound rest with God in the first rank and 
the highest degree, and have fled from all save Him." And 
he also says: Al-Sufi alladhi Id yamlik wa-ld y umiak , "The 
Sufi is he that has nothing in his possession nor is himself 
possessed by anything." This denotes the essence of 
annihilation (fana), since one whose qualities are annihilated 
neither possesses nor is possessed, inasmuch as the term 
" possession " can properly be applied only to existent things. 
The meaning is, that the Sufi does not make his own any 
good of this world or any glory of the next world, for he 
is not even in the possession and control of himself : he 
refrains from desiring authority over others, in order that 
others may not desire submission from him. This saying 
refers to a mystery of the Sufi s which they call "complete 
annihilation" (fand-yi kulli}. If God will, we shall mention 
in this work, for your information, the points wherein they 
have fallen into error. 

Ibn al-Jalla x says: Al-tasawwuf kaqiqat 1 " 1 Id rasm lahu, 
" Sufiism is an essence without form," because the form belongs 

1 So J. The Lahore edition has Ibn al-Jalali, I. Ibn al-Jullabi. See Chapter X, 

No. 34. 


to mankind in respect to their conduct (inu dmaldf), while the 
essence thereof is peculiar to God. Since Sufiism consists in 
turning away from mankind, it is necessarily without form. 
And Abu Amr Dimashqi says : Al-tasawwuf ru yat al-kawn 
bi- ayn al-naqs, bal ghadd al-tarf an al-kawn^ " Sufiism is : to 
see the imperfection of the phenomenal world (and this shows 
that human attributes are still existent), nay, to shut the eye 
to the phenomenal world " (and this shows that human 
attributes are annihilated ; because the objects of sight are 
phenomena, and when phenomena disappear, sight also dis 
appears). Shutting the eye to the phenomenal world leaves 
the spiritual vision subsistent, i.e. whoever becomes blind to 
self sees by means of God, because the seeker of phenomena 
is also a self-seeker, and his action proceeds from and through 
himself, and he cannot find any way of escaping from himself. 
Accordingly one sees himself to be imperfect, and one shuts 
his eye to self and does not see ; and although the seer sees 
his imperfection, nevertheless his eye is a veil, and he is veiled 
by his sight, but he who does not see is not veiled by his 
blindness. This is a well-established principle in the Path 
of aspirants to Sufiism and mystics (arbdb-i ma dni\ but to 
explain it here would be unsuitable. And Abu Bakr Shibli 
says : Al-tasawwuf shirk Wannahu siydnat al-qalb an ru yat 
al-ghayr wa-ld ghayr, " Sufiism is polytheism, because it is the 
guarding of the heart from the vision of other , and other * 
does not exist." That is to say, vision of other (than God) in 
affirming the Unity of God is polytheism, and when " other " 
has no value in the heart, it is absurd to guard the heart from 
remembrance of " other ". And Husri says: Al-tasaivwuf sofa 
al-sirr min kudurat al-mukJidlafat, " Sufiism is the heart s being 
pure from the pollution of discord." The meaning thereof is 
that he should protect the heart from discord with God, because 
love is concord, and concord is the opposite of discord, and the 
lover has but one duty in the world, namely, to keep the com 
mandment of the beloved ; and if the object of desire is one, 
how can discord arise? And Muhammad b. All b. al-Husayn 



b. All b. Abi Talib may God be pleased with them all ! 
says : Al-tasawwnf khulq nn fa-man zdda l alayka fi l~khulq zdda 
alayka fi l-tasawivuf, " Siifiism is goodness of disposition : 
he that has the better disposition is the better Sufi." Now 
goodness of disposition is of two kinds : towards God and 
towards men. The former is acquiescence in the Divine 
decrees, the latter is endurance of the burden of men s society 
for God s sake. These two aspects refer to the seeker (tdlib\ 
God is indepeidjent -of-the seeker s acquiescence or anger, and 
these two qualities depend on consideration of His Unity. 
And Abu Muhammad Murta ish says : Al-Si ifi Id yasbiqu 
kimmatuhu khatwataliu, " The Sufi is he whose thought keeps 
pace with his foot," i.e. he is entirely present : his soul is where 
his body is, and his body where his soul is, and his soul where 
his foot is, and his foot where his soul is. This is the sign of 
presence without absence. ^ Others say, on the contrary : " He 
is absent from himself | and present with God. / It is not so: 
he is present with himself and present with God. The 
expression denotes perfect union (jam al-jam \ because there 
can be no absence from self so long as one regards one s self ; 
when self-regard has ceased, there is presence (with God) 
without absence. In this particular sense the saying closely 
resembles that of Shiblf : Al-Stifi Id yard fi l-ddrayn ma a 
lldh gJiayra lldh, " The Sufi is he that sees nothing except 
God in the two worlds." In short, human existence is "other", 
and when a man does not see " other " he does not see himself ; 
and becomes totally void of self, whether "self" is affirmed 
or denied. And Junayd says : Al-tasawwuf mabniyy aid 
tJiamdn kJiisdl al-sakJid wa l-ricld wa l-sabr wa l-ishdrat wa 
l-ghurbat wa-labs al-suf wa l-siydhat wa l-faqr amma l-sakhd 
fa-li-Ibrdkim wa-amma l-ridd fa-li-Ismd il wa-amma l-sabr 
fa-li-Ayyub wa-amma l-ishdrat fa-li-Zakariyyd iva-amma 
1-gJmrbat fa-li- Yahyd ^cva-ammd labs al-suf fa-li-Musd wa- 
amma l-siydhat fa-li-^Isd wa-amma l-faqr fa-li- Muhammad 
salla "lldhu alayhi wa-sallama wa-alayhim ajma in, " Sufi ism 
is founded on eight qualities exemplified in eight Apostles : 




the generosity of Abraham, who sacrificed his son ; the 
acquiescence of Ishmael, who submitted to the cornrnand~^of 
God and gave up his dear life ;^ the patience of Job, who 
patiently endured the affliction of worms and the jealousy Txf 
the Merciful ; the symbolism of Zacharias, to whom God said, 
T/iou slialt not speak unto men for three days save by signs 
(Kor. iii, 36), and again to the same effect, When he called 
upon his Lord with a secret invocation (Kor. xix, 2) ; the 
strangerhood of John, who was a stranger in his own country 
and an alien to his own kin amongst whom he lived ; the 
pilgrimhood of Jesus, who was so detached therein from worldly 
things that he kept only a cup and a comb the cup he threw 
away when he saw a man drinking water in the palms of his 
hands, and the comb likewise when he saw another man usine 


his fingers instead of a toothpick ; the wearing of wool by 
Moses, whose garment was woollen ; and the poverty of 
Muhammad, to whom God Almighty sent the key of all the" 
treasures that are upon the face of the earth, saying : Lay 
no trouble on thyself, but procure every luxury by means of 
these treasures ; and he answered : O Lord, I desire them 
not ; keep me one day full-fed and one day hungry. " These 
are very excellent principles of conduct. 

And Husri says : A I- Sufi la yujadu btida adamihi wa-ld 
yu damu bet da wujudihi, " The Sufi is he whose existence is 
without non-existence and his non-existence without existence," 
i.e. he never loses that which he finds, and he never finds that 
which he loses. Another meaning is this, that his finding (ydff) 
has no not-finding (nd-ydft\ and his not-finding has no finding 
at any time, so that there is either an affirmation without 
negation or a negation without affirmation. The object of all 
these expressions is that the Sufi s state of mortality should 
entirely lapse, and that his bodily feelings (shawdhid] should 
disappear and his connexion with everything be cut ^of?^~m~~ 
order that the mystery of his mortality may be revealed and his 
various parts united in his essential self, and that he may 
subsist through and in himself. The effect of this can be shown 


in two Apostles : firstly, Moses, in whose existence there was no 
non-existence, so that he said : " O Lord, enlarge my breast and 
make my affair easy unto me " (Kor. xx, 26, 27) ; secondly, the 
Apostle (Muhammad), in whose non-existence there was no 
existence, so that God said : " Did not We enlarge thy breast ? " 
(Kor. xciv, i). The one asked for adornment and sought 
honour, but the other was adorned, since he had no request 
to make for himself. 

And All b. Bundar al-Sayrafi of Nishapur says : Al-tasawwuf 
isqdt al-nfyat li- l-haqq zdliir an wa-bdtin a \ " Siifiism is this, that 
the Sufi should not regard his own exterior and interior, but 
should regard^all as belonging to God.", Thus, if you look at 
the exterior, you will find an outward sign of God s blessing, 
and, as you look, outward actions will not have the weight even 
of a gnat s wing beside the blessing of God, and you will cease 
from regarding the exterior ; and again, if you look at the 
interior, you will find an inward sign of God s aid, and, as you 
look, inward actions will not turn the scale by a single grain in 
comparison with the aid of God, and you will cease from 
regarding the interior, and will see that all belongs to God ; and 
when you see that all is God s, you will see that you yourself 
have nothing. 

Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Muqri * says: Al-tasawwuf istiqdmat 
al-akivdl tit eta l-haqq, " Sufiism is the maintenance of right 
states with God," i.e. "states" do not seduce the Sufi from his 
(right) state, nor cast him into wrong, since he whose heart is 
devoted to the Author of states (muhawwil-i ahwdl) is not cast 
down from the rank of rectitude nor hindered from attaining 

to the Truth. 

Maxims of Conduct (mu dmaldt). 

Abu Hafs Haddad of Nishapur says: Al-tasawwuf kullukti 

dddb !in li-knlli waqt" 1 adab nn wa-li-kulli maqdm in adab tln wa-li- 

kulli hdl in adab"" fa-man lazima dddb al-awqdt balagha mablagJi 

1 Died in 366 A.H. See Nafahat, No. 332. 


al-rijdl fa-man dayya a l-dddb fa-huwa ba td" 11 min haythu 
yazunnu l-qurb wa-mardud nn min haythu yazunmi l-qabul y 
"Siifiism consists entirely of behaviour; every time, place, and 
circumstance have their own propriety ; he that observes the 
, proprieties of each occasion attains to the rank of holy men ; 
and he that neglects the proprieties is far removed from the 
thought of nearness (to God) and is excluded from imagining 
that he is acceptable to God. r The meaning of this is akin to 
the dictum of Abu 1-Hasan Nuri : Laysa l-tasaivwuf rustim an 
zva-ld uh im wa-ldkinnahu akhldq" H , " Sufiism is not composed 
of practices and sciences, but it is morals," i.e. if it consisted oF 
practices, it could be acquired by effort, and if it consisted of 
sciences, it could be gained by instruction : hence it is morals, 
and it is not acquired until you demand from yourself the 
principles of morals, and make your actions square with them7 
and fulfil their just claims. The distinction between practices 
(rusAm) and morals (akhldq] is this, that practices are ceremonial 
actions proceeding from certain motives, actions devoid of 
reality, so that their form is at variance with their spirit, 
whereas morals are praiseworthy actions without ceremony or 
motive, actions devoid of pretension^ so that their form is in" 
harmony with their spirit. 

Murta ish says: Al-lasaivivuf husn al-khulq, " Sufiism is good 
nature." This is of three sorts: firstly, towards God, by 
fulfilling His Commandments without hypocrisy ; secondly, 
towards men, by paying respect to one s superiors and 
behaving with kindness to one s inferiors and with justice 
to one s equals, and by not seeking recompense and justice 
from men in general; and thirdly, towards one s self, by 
not following the flesh and the devil. Whoever makes 
himself right in these three matters is a good-natured man. 
This which I have mentioned agrees with a story told of 
A isha the veracious (siddiqd] m*y God be well-pleased 
with her! She was asked concerning the nature of the 
Apostle. "Read from the Koran," she replied, "for God 
has given information in the place where He says : Use 


indulgence and order what is good and turn away from the 
ignorant* (Kor. vii, 198)." And Murta ish also says: Had/id 
madhhab" 1 kullnhu jidd nt fa - Id takJditiiJiu bi - sJiay in min 
al-hazl, " This religion of Sufiism is wholly earnest, therefore 
do not mix jest with it, and do not take the conduct of 
formalists (mutarassimdri] as a model, and shun those who 
blindly imitate them." When the people see these formalists 
among the aspirants to Sufiism in our time, and become 
aware of their dancing and singing and visiting the court 
of sultans and quarrelling for the sake of a pittance or a 
mouthful of food, their belief in the whole body of Sufis is 
corrupted, and they say : " These are the principles of Sufiism, 
and the tenets of the ancient Sufis were just the same." 
They do not recognize that this is an age of weakness and 
an epoch of affliction. Consequently, since greed incites 
the sultan to acts of tyranny, and lust incites the savant to 
commit adultery and fornication, and ostentation incites 
the ascetic to hypocrisy, and vanity incites the Stiff also to 
dance and sing you must know that the evil lies in the 
men who hold the doctrines, not in the principles on which 
the doctrines are based ; and that if some scoffers disguise 
their folly in the earnestness of true mystics (ahrdr), the 
earnestness of the latter is not thereby turned to folly. And 
Abu All Qarmini * says : Al-tasawwuf Jiuwa l-akhldq <?/- 
radiyyat, " Sufiism is good morals." Approved actions are such 
that the creature in all circumstances approves of God, and is 
content and satisfied. Abu I Hasan Nun says : Al-tasawwuf 
huwa l-hurriyyat wa- l-futuwwat wa-tark al-taklif wa-l-sakhd 
wa-badhl al-dunyd, "Sufiism is liberty, so that a man is 
freed from the bonds of desire ; and generosity," i.e. he 
is purged from the conceit of generosity ; " and abandonment 
of useless trouble/ i.e. he does not strive after appurtenances 
and rewards ; " and munificence," i.e. he leaves this world to 
the people of this world. 

1 IJ. Qazwini. B. Abu Ali Kirmanshahi Qurayshi. The Shaykh in question is 
probably Mu/affar Kirmanshahi Qarmini (Nafahdt, No. 270). 


Abu 1- Hasan Fushanja^ 1 may God have mercy on 
him! saysj^ Al-tasawwuf al-yawma sm im wa-ld haqiqat H "^wa- 

qad kdna haqi(jat i:i wa-la .-.;// " , "To-day Sufiism is a name 
without a reality, but formerly it was a reality without a name," 
i.e. in the time of the Companions and the Ancients may 
God have mercy on them! this name did not exist, but 
the reality thereof was in everyone; now the name exists, . 
but not the reality. That is to say, formerly the practice 
was known and the pretence unknown, but nowadays" the 
pretence is known and the practice unknown. 

I have brought together and examined in this chapter 
on Sufiism a number of the sayings of the Shaykhs, in order 
that this Path may become clear to you God grant you 
felicity ! and that you may say to the sceptics : " What 
do you mean by denying the truth of Sufiism ? " If they 
deny only the name it is no matter, since ideas are unrelated 
to things which bear names ; and if they deny the essential 
ideas, this amounts to a denial of the whole Sacred Law 
of the Apostle and his praised qualities. And I enjoin you 
in this book God grant you the felicity with which He has 
blessed His Saints ! to hold these ideas in due regard and 
satisfy their just claims, so that you may refrain from idle 
pretensions and have an excellent belief in the Sufis themselves. 
It is God that gives success. 

1 Generally written u Fushanji". See Nafahat, No. 279. 



Know that the wearing of a muraqqtfa (patched frock) is the 
badg^Tof aspirants to Sufiism. The wearing of these garments 
is a Sunna (custom of the~Trophet), for the Apostle said: 
Alaykum bi-labs al-suf tajiduna haldwat al-imdn fi quli ibikum. 
And, further, one of the Companions says : Kdna l-nabi salla 
lldh alayhi wa-sallaina yalbasu l-stif wa-yarkabu l-himdr. 
And, moreover, the Apostle said to A isha : Ld tudayyi i l- 
thawb hattd turaqqMhi. He said : " See that ye wear woollen 
raiment, that ye may feel the sweetness of faith." And it is 
related that the Apostle wore a garment of wool and rode on 
an ass, and that he said to A isha : " O A isha, do not let 
\the garment be destroyed, but patch it." Umar, the son of 
Khattab, wore, it is said, a muraqqcta with thirty patches 
v Inserted on it. Of Umar, too, we are told that he said : " The 
/best garment is that which gives the least trouble " (ki mctunat-i 
an sabnktar buvad). It is related of the Commander of the 
Faithful, Ah , that he had a shirt of which the sleeves were 
level with his ringers, and if at any time he wore a longer shirt 
he used to tear off the ends of its sleeves. The Apostle also 
was commanded by God to shorten his garments, for God said : 
" And purify thy garments" (Kor. Ixxiv, 4), i.e. shorten them. 
And Hasan of Basra says : " I saw seventy comrades who fought 
at Badr : all of them had woollen garments ; and the greatest 
Siddiq (Abu Bakr) wore a garment of wool in his detachment 
from the world " (tajricT). Hasan of Basra says further : " I saw 
Salman (al - Farisi) wearing a woollen frock (giltnt) with 
patches." The Commander of the Faithful, Umar b. al- 
Khattab, and the Commander of the Faithful, Ah , and Harim 
b. Hayyan relate that they saw Uways Qarani with a woollen 


garment on which patches were inserted. Hasan of Basra and 
Malik Dinar and Sufyan Thawri were owners of weollen 
patched frocks. And it is related of the Imam Abu Hanifa 
of Kufa this is written in the History of the Shaykhs composed 
by Muhammad b. All Hakim Tirmidhi that he at first clothed 
himself in wool and was on the point of retiring from the 
world, when he saw in a dream the Apostle, who said : " It 
behoves thee to live amidst the people, because thou art the 
means whereby my Sunna will be revived." Then Abu Hanifa 
refrained from solitude, but he never put on a garment of any 
value. And Dawud Ta i, who was one of the veritable adepts 
among the aspirants to Sufiism (yaki az muhaqqiqdn - i 
mutasawwifa], enjoined the wearing of wool. And Ibrahim 
the son of Adham came to visit the most venerable Imam Abu 
Hanifa, clad in a garment of wool. The latter s disciples looked 
at him with contempt and disparagement, until Abu Hanifa 
said : " Our lord Ibrahim b. Adham has come." The disciples 
said : " The Imam utters no jests : how has he gained this lord 
ship ? " Abu Hanifa replied : " By continual devotion. He has 
been occupied in serving God while we have been engaged in 
serving our own bodies. Thus he has become our lord." 

It may well be the case that at the present day some persons 
wear patched frocks and religious habits (inuraqqa dt ti khiraq] 
for the sake of public honour and reputation, and that their 
hearts belie their external garb ; for there may be but one 
champion in a host, and in every sect the genuine adepts are 
few. People, however, reckon as Sufis all who resemble the 
Sufis even in a single rule. The Apostle said : Man tashabbaha 
bi-qawm 1 1 fa-hnwa minhum, " He that makes himself akin to j 
a party either in conduct or in belief, is one of that party." But 
while some regard only the outward forms of their practice, 
others direct attention to their spirit of inward purity. 

Those who wish to associate with aspirants to Sufiism fall 
into four classes : (i) He whose purity, enlightenment, subtlety, 
even balance of temperament, and soundness of character 
give him insight into the hearts of the Sufis, so that he 


perceives the nearness of their spiritual adepts to God and 
the loftiness of their eminent men. He joins himself to them 
in hope of attaining to the same degree, and the beginning of 
his novitiate is marked by revelation of " states " (kashf-i 
ahwdl\ and purgation from desire, and renunciation of self. 
(2) He whose health of body and continence of heart and 
quiet peace of mind enable him to see their outward practice, 
so that he fixes his gaze on their observance of the holy law 
and of the different sorts of discipline, and on the excellence 
of their conduct : consequently he seeks to associate with them 
and give himself up to the practice of piety, and the beginning 
of his novitiate is marked by self-mortification (inujdhadaf) 
and good conduct. (3) He whose humanity and custom of 
social intercourse and goodness of disposition cause him to 
consider their actions and to see the virtue of their outward 
life : how they treat their superiors with respect and their 
inferiors with generosity and their equals as comrades, and 
how untroubled they are by thoughts of worldly gain and con 
tented with what they have ; he seeks their society, and 
renders easy to himself the hard path of worldly ambition, 
and makes himself at leisure one of the good. (4) He whose 
stupidity and feebleness of soul his love of power without 
merit and of distinction without knowledge lead him to 
suppose that the outward actions of the Sufis are everything. 
When he enters their company they treat him kindly and 
indulgently, although they are convinced that he is entirely 
ignorant of God and that he has never striven to advance 
upon the mystic path. Therefore he is honoured by the 
people as if he were a real adept and is venerated as if he 
were one of God s saints, but his object is only to assume 
their dress and hide his deformity under their piety. He is 
like an ass laden with books (Kor. Ixxii, 5). In this age 
the majority are impostors such as have been described. 
Accordingly, it behoves you not to seem to be anything 
except what you really are. It_is inward glow (Jiurqaf) that 
makes the Sufi, not the religious habit (khirqai]. To the true 


mystic there is no difference between the mantle (aba) worn 
by dervishes, and the coat (qabd) worn by ordinary people. 
An eminent Shaykh was asked why he did not__wear 
a^patchecTfrock (muraqqa d). He replied : " It is hypocrisy 
tcTwear the garb of the Sufi s and not to bear the burdens 
which Sufiism entails." If, by wearing this garb, you wish to 

make known to God that you are one of the elect, God 
that already ; and if you wish to show to the people that you 
belong to God, should your claim be true, you are guilty of 
ostentation ; and should it be false, of hypocrisy. The Sufis 
are too great to need a special garment for this purpose. 
Purity (sofa) is a gift from God, whereas wool (stif) is the 
clothing of animals. The Sufi Shaykhs enjoined their dis 
ciples to wear patched frocks, and did the same themselves, 
in order that they might be marked men, and that all the 
people might keep watch over them : thus if they committed 
a transgression, every tongue would rebuke them, and if they 
wished to sin while clad in this garment, they would be held 
back by shame. In short, the muraqqcta is the garb of God s 
saints. The vulgar use it merely as a means of gaining 
worldly reputation and fortune, but the elect prefer contumely 
to honour, and affliction to prosperity. Hence it is said 
" the muraqqcta is a garb of happiness for the vulgar, but 
a mail-coat (jawshari) of affliction for the elect." You must 
seek what is spiritual, and shun what is external. The 
Divine is veiled by the human, and that veil is annihilated 
only by passing through the "states" and "stages" of the 
mystic Way. Purity (safd} is the name given to such 
annihilation. How can he who has gained it choose one 
garment rather than another, or take pains to adorn himself 
at all ? How should he care whether people call him a Sufi 
or by some other name ? 


Muraqqctas should be made with a view to ease and lightness, 
and when the original cloth is torn a patch should be inserted. 


There are two opinions of the Shaykhs as to this matter. 
Some hold that it is improper to sew the patch on neatly 
and accurately, and that the needle should be drawn through 
the cloth at random, 1 and that no trouble should be taken. 
Others again hold that the stitches should be straight and 
regular, and that it is part of the practice of the dervishes 
to keep the stitches straight and to take pains therein ; for 
sound practice indicates sound principles. 

Now I, who am All b. Uthman al-Jullabi, asked the Grand 
Shaykh, Abu 1-Qasim Gurgani at Tus, saying : " What is 
the least thing necessary for a dervish in order that he may 
become worthy of poverty?" He replied: "A dervish must 
not have less than three things : first, he must know how 
to sew on a patch rightly ; second, he must know how to 
listen rightly ; third, he must know how to set his foot on 
the ground rightly." A number of dervishes were present 
with me when he said this. As soon as we came to the door 
each one began to apply this saying to his own case, and 
some ignorant fellows fastened on it with avidity. " This," they 
cried, "is poverty indeed," and most of them were hastening 
to sew patches on nicely and to set their feet on the ground 
correctly ; and everyone of them imagined that he knew how 
to listen to sayings on Sufiism. Wherefore, since my heart 
was devoted to that Sayyid, and I was unwilling that his words 
should fall to the ground, I said : " Come, let each of us say 
something upon this subject." So everyone stated his views, 
and when my turn came I said : " A right patch is one that is 
stitched for poverty, not for show ; if it is stitched for poverty, 
it is right, even though it be stitched wrong. And a right word 
is one that is heard esoterically (ba-/idl\ not wilfully (ba- 
munyat\ and is applied earnestly, not frivolously, and is 
apprehended by life, not by reason. And a right foot is one 
that is put on the ground with true rapture, not playfully and 
formally." Some of my remarks were reported to the Sayyid 
(Abu l-Qasim Gurgani), who said : " All has spoken well God 

1 Literally, "in whatever place it raises its head." 



reward him ! " The aim of this sect in wearing patched frocks 
is to alleviate the burden of this world and to be sincere in 
poverty towards God. It is related in the genuine Traditions 
that Jesus, son of Mary God bless him ! was wearing a 
muraqqcta when he was taken up to heaven. A certain Shaykh 
said : " I dreamed that I saw him clad in a woollen patched 
frock, and light was shining from every patch. I said : O 
Messiah, what are these lights on thy garment? He answered : 
The lights of necessary grace ; for I sewed on each of those 
patches through necessity, and God Almighty hath turned into 
a light every tribulation which He inflicted on my heart. " 

I saw in Transoxania an old man who belonged to the sect 

of Malamatis. He neither ate nor wore anything in which 

human beings had a hand. His food consisted of things thrown 

away by men, such as putrid vegetables, sour gourds, rotten 

carrots, and the like. His clothes were made of rags which he 

had picked up from the road and washed : of these he had 

made a muraqqa a. And I have heard that among the mystics 

of recent times there was an old man of flourishing condition 

(qawi hdl) and of excellent character, living at Marv al-Rud, 

who had sewn so many patches, without taking pains, on his 

prayer-rug and cap, that scorpions brought forth their young 

in them. And my Shaykh may God be well pleased with 

him ! wore for fifty-one years a single cloak (jubba\ on which 

he used to sew pieces of cloth without taking any pains. 

I have found the following tale among the anecdotes of the 

(holy) men of Iraq. There were two dervishes, one a votary 

of the contemplative life (sahib mushdhadat\ and the other 

a votary of the purgative life (sahib mujdkadaf). The former 

never clothed himself except in the pieces of cloth which were 

torn off by dervishes in a state of ecstasy (samd*) from their 

own garments, while the other used for the same purpose only 

the pieces torn off by dervishes who were asking forgiveness : 

thus the outward garb of each was in harmony with his inward 

disposition. This is observance of the "state" (pas ddshtan-i 

hdl). Shaykh Muhammad b. Khafif wore a coarse woollen 


frock (palds} for twenty years, and every year he used to 
undergo four fasts of forty days duration (chilla\ and every 
forty days he would compose a work on the mysteries of the 
Sciences of the Divine Verities. In his time there was an. old 
man, 1 one of the adepts learned in the Way (Tariqai) and the 
Truth (Haqtqat\ who resided at Parg 2 in Fars and was called 
Muhammad b. Zakariyya. 3 He had never worn a muraqqa^a. 
Now Shaykh Muhammad b. Khafi f was asked : " What is 
involved in wearing a muraqqa a, and who is permitted to do 
so?" He replied: "It involves those obligations which are 
fulfilled by Muhammad b. Zakariyya in his white shirt, and the 
wearing of such a frock is permitted to him." 


It is not the way of the Sufis to abandon their customs. 
If they seldom wear garments of wool at the present day, there 
are two reasons for this fact : (i) that wools have deteriorated 
(fashmhd shiirida shuda asf} and the animals (which produce 
wool) have been carried off from one place to another by 
raiders ; and (2) that a sect of heretics has adopted the woollen 
garment as a badge (shi dr). And it is praiseworthy to depart 
from the badge of heretics, even although one departs at the 
same time from a traditional practice (sunnd). 

To take pains (takalluf] in sewing muraqqa as is considered 
allowable by the Sufis because they have gained a high 
reputation among the people ; and since many imitate them 
and wear muraqqtfas, and are guilty of improper acts, and since 
the Sufis dislike the society of others than themselves for 
these reasons they have invented a garb which none but 

1 This story is related in Attar s Tadhkirat dl-Awliyd (pt. ii, p. 125, 1. 17 sqq.), 
where it is expressly said that the old man was not " learned in the Way ". 

2 I. in margin has Park. The Nuzhat al-QuMb gives the name as < y^ (Bark), 
and refers it to a village in the district of Kirman. 

3 B., I., and J. have Dhakariyya (Zakariyya), L. u^ The MSS. of the 
Tadhkirat al-Awliyd vary between Dhakiri and tJiO . 


themselves can sew, and have made it a mark of mutual 
acquaintance and a badge. So much so that when a certain 
dervish came to one of the Shaykhs wearing a garment on 
whiqh the patch had been sewn with too wide stitches (khatt 
ba-pahnd divarda bild) the Shaykh banished him from his 
presence. The argument is that purity (safd) is founded on 
delicacy of nature and fineness of temperament, and un 
doubtedly crookedness in one s nature is not good. It is 
natural to disapprove of incorrect actions, just as it is natural 
to derive no pleasure from incorrect poetry. 

Others, again, do not trouble themselves about clothes at all. 
They wear either a religious habit ( aba) or an ordinary coat 
(qabd), whichever God may have given them ; and if He keeps 
them naked, they remain in that state. I, who am All b. 
Uthman al-Jullabi, approve of this doctrine, and I have 
practised it in my journeys. It is related that Ahmad b. 
Khadruya wore a coat when he visited Abu Yazfd, and that 
Shah b. Shuja wore a coat when he visited Abu Hafs. This 
was not their usual dress, for sometimes they wore a muraqqcta 
and sometimes a woollen garment or a white shirt, as it might 
happen. The human soul is habituated to things, and fond 
of custom, and when anything has become habitual to the soul 
it soon grows natural, and when it has grown natural it becomes 
.4- a veil. Hence the Apostle said: Khayr al-siydm sawm akhi 
Ddwud ^alayhi l-saldm, " The best of fasts is that of my brother 
.David." They said : "O Apostle of God, what kind of fast is 
that ? " He replied : " David used to keep his fast one day and 
break it on the next day," in order that his soul should not 
become accustomed either to keeping the fast or to breaking 
it, for fear that he might be veiled thereby. And, as regards 
this matter, Abu Hamid Dustan * of Merv was the most sound. 
His disciples used to put a garment on him, but those who 
wanted it used to seek him out when he was at leisure and 
alone, and divest him of it ; and he would never say to the 
person who put it on him : " Why do you put it on ? " nor to the 

1 See Nafahat, No. 350. 


person who took it off: " Why do you take it off? " Moreover, 
at the present day there is at Ghazna may God protect it ! 
an old man with the sobriquet Mu ayyad, who has no choice 
or discrimination with respect to his clothes ; and he is sound 
in that degree. 

Now, as to their garments being mostly blue (kabild}^ one 
of the reasons is that they have made wandering (siydkat] and 
travelling the foundation of their Path ; and on journeys 
a white garment does not retain its original appearance, and 
is not easily washed, and besides, everyone covets it. Another 
cause is this, that a blue dress is the badge of the bereaved and 
afflicted, and the apparel of mourners ; and this world is the 
abode of trouble, the pavilion of affliction, the den of sorrow, 
the house of parting, the cradle of tribulation : the (Sufi) 
disciples, seeing that their heart s desire is not to be gained 
in this world, have clad themselves in blue and have sat down 
to mourn union (with God). Others behold in the practice 
(of devotion) only imperfection, in the heart only evil, in life 
only loss of time : therefore they wear blue ; for loss (fawt) 
is worse than death (inawt). One wears blue for the death 
of a dear friend, another for the loss of a cherished hope. 

A dervish was asked why he wore blue. He replied : " The 
Apostle left three things : poverty, knowledge, and the sword. 
The sword was taken by potentates, who misused it ; knowledge 
was chosen by savants, who were satisfied with merely teaching 
it ; poverty was chosen by dervishes, who made it a means of 
enriching themselves. I wear blue as a sign of mourning for 
the calamity of these three classes of men." Once Murta ish 
was walking in one of the quarters of Baghdad. Being thirsty, 
he went to a door and asked for a drink of water. The 
daughter of the householder brought him some water in a jug. 
Murta ish was smitten with her beauty and would not leave 
the spot until the master of the house came to him. " O sir," 
cried Murta ish, "she gave me a drink of water and robbed me 
of my heart." The householder replied: " She is my daughter, 
and I give her to you in marriage." So Murta ish went into 


the house, and the wedding was immediately solemnized. The 
bride s father, who was a wealthy man, sent Murta ish to the 
bath, where they took off his patched frock (muraqqafa) and 
clothed him in a night-dress. At nightfall he rose to say his 
prayers and engage in solitary devotion. Suddenly he called 
out, " Bring my patched frock." They asked, " What ails 
you ? " He answered, " I heard a voice within, whispering : 
On account of one disobedient look We have removed thy 
muraqqata, the garb of piety, from thy body : if thou lookest 
again We shall remove the raiment of intimacy from thy 
heart. Only two kinds of men are fitted to wear the 
muraqqa a: (i) those who are cut off from the world, and (2) 
those who feel a longing for the Lord (mushtdqdn-i mazvld). 

The Sufi Shaykhs observe the following rule. When a novice 
joins them, with the purpose of renouncing the world, they 
subject him to spiritual discipline for the space of three years. 
If he fulfil the requirements of this discipline, well and good ; 
otherwise, they declare that he cannot be admitted to the 
Path (Tariqaf). The first year is devoted to service of the 
people, the second year to service of God, and the third year 
to watching over his own heart. He can serve the people 
only when he places himself in the rank of servants and all 
other people in the rank of masters, i.e. he must regard all, 
without any discrimination, as being better than himself, and 
must consider it his duty to serve all alike ; not in such 
a way as to deem himself superior to those whom he serves, 
for this is manifest perdition and evident fraud, and is one of 
the infectious cankers of the age (az dfdt-i zanidna andar 
zamdna yaki mast). And he can serve God Almighty only 
when he cuts off all his selfish interests relating either to 
this world or to the next, and worships God absolutely for 
His sake alone, inasmuch as whoever worships God for any 
thing s sake worships himself and not God. And he can 
watch over his heart only when his thoughts are collected 
and cares are dismissed from his heart, so that in the presence 
of intimacy (with God) he preserves his heart from the assaults 


of heedlessness. When these three qualifications are possessed 
by the novice, he may wear the muraqqa a as a true mystic, not 
merely as an imitator of others. 

Now as to the person who invests the novice with the 
muraqqcta,) he must be a man of rectitude (inustaqim al-hdl) 
who has traversed all the hills and dales of the Path, and tasted 
the rapture of "states" and perceived the nature of actions, 
and experienced the severity of the Divine majesty and the 
clemency of the Divine beauty. Furthermore, he must examine 
the state of his disciples and judge what point they will 
ultimately reach : whether they will retire (rdji dn), or stand 
still (wdqifdn\ or attain (bdligJidii). If he knows that some day 
they will abandon this Path, he must forbid them to enter upon 
it; if they will come to a stand, he must enjoin them to practise 
devotion ; and if they will reach the goal, he must give them 
spiritual nourishment. The Sufi Shaykhs are physicians of 
men s souls. When the physician is ignorant of the patient s 
malady he kills him by his art, because he does not know how 
to treat him and does not recognize the symptoms of danger, 
and prescribes food and drink unsuitable to his disease. The 
Apostle said : " The shaykh in his tribe is like the prophet in 
his nation." Accordingly, as the prophets showed insight in 
their call to the people, and kept everyone in his due degree, 
so the Shaykh likewise should show insight in his call, and 
should give to everyone his proper spiritual food, in order that 
the object of his call may be secured. 

The adept, then, who has attained the perfection of saintship 
takes the right course when he invests the novice with the 
muraqqa a after a period of three years during which he has 
educated him in the necessary discipline. In respect of the 
qualifications which it demands, the viuraqqcfa is comparable 
to a winding-sheet (kafan] : the wearer must resign all his 
hopes of the pleasures of life, and purge his heart of all sensual 
delights, and devote his life entirely to the service of God and 
completely renounce selfish desires. Then the Director (Pir) 
ennobles him by clothing him in that robe of honour, while he 


on his part fulfils the obligations which it involves, and strives 
with all his might to perform them, and deems it unlawful to 
satisfy his own wishes. 

Many allegories (ishdrdf) have been uttered concerning the 
muraqqa a. Shaykh Abu Ma mar of Isfahan has written a 
book on the subject, and the generality of aspirants to Sufiism 
display much extravagance (ghuluww] in this matter. My 
aim, however, in the present work is not to relate sayings, but 
to elucidate the difficulties of Sufiism. The best allegory con 
cerning the muraqqd a is this, that its collar (qabba} is patience, 
its two sleeves fear and hope, its two gussets (tiriz) contraction 
and dilation, its belt self - abnegation, its hem (kurst) T 
soundness in faith, its fringe (fardwiz) sincerity. Better still 
is the following : " Its collar is annihilation of intercourse (with 
men), its two sleeves are observance (hifz) and continence 
(ismat), its two gussets are poverty and purity, its belt is 
persistence in contemplation, its hem (kursi) is tranquillity 
in (God s) presence, and its fringe is settlement in the abode of 
union." When you have made a muraqqa a like this for your 
spiritual self it behoves you to make one for your exterior 
also. I have composed a separate book on this subject, entitled 
" The Mysteries of Patched Frocks and Means of Livelihood " 
(Asrdr al-khiraq wa-l-ma tindi), of which the novice should 
get a copy. 

If the novice, having donned the miiraqqtfa, should be forced 
to tear it under compulsion of the temporal authority, this is 
permissible and excusable ; but should he tear it of free will 
and deliberately, then according to the law of the sect he is not 
allowed to wear a muraqqcfa in future, and if he do so, he stands 
on the same footing as those in our time who are content to 
wear muraqqa as for outward show, with no spiritual meaning. 
As regards the rending of garments the true doctrine is this, 
that when Sufi s pass from one stage to another they immediately 
change their dress in thankfulness for having gained a higher 

1 This conjectural translation of kursi was suggested to me by Colonel Ranking. 
The dictionaries give no explanation of the word as it is used here. 


stage ; but whereas every other garment is the dress of a single 
stage, the muraqqcta is a dress which comprises all the stages 
of the Path of poverty and purity, and therefore to discard it 
is equivalent to renouncing the whole Path. I have made 
a slight allusion to this question, although this is not the proper 
place for it, in order to settle the particular point at issue ; but, 
please God, I will give a detailed explanation of the principle 
in the chapter on rending (kharq\ and in the revelation of 
the mystery of " audition " (samd 1 ). Furthermore, it has been 
said that one who invests a novice with the muraqqcfa should 
possess such sovereign mystical powers that any stranger on 
whom he looks kindly should become a friend, and any sinner 
whom he clothes in this garment should become a saint. 

Once I was travelling with my Shaykh in Adharbayajan, 
and we saw two or three persons wearing muraqqa as, who were 
standing beside a wheat-barn and holding up their skirts in the 
hope that the farmer would throw them some wheat. On seeing 
this the Shaykh exclaimed : " Those are they who have purchased 
error at the price of true guidance, but their traffic has not been 
profitable" (Kor. ii, 15). I asked him how they had fallen into 
this calamity and disgrace. He said : " Their spiritual directors 
were greedy to gather disciples, and they themselves are greedy 
to collect worldly goods." It is related of Junayd that he saw 
at the Bab al-Taq x a beautiful Christian youth and said : 
" O Lord, pardon him for my sake, for Thou hast created him 
exceeding fair." After a while the youth came to Junayd and 
made profession of Islam and was enrolled among the saints. 
Abu All Siyah was asked: " Who is permitted to invest novices 
with the muraqqa a ? " He replied : " That one who oversees 
the whole kingdom of God, so that nothing happens in the 
world without his knowledge." 

1 A gate in the eastern quarter of Baghdad. 




The Doctors of the Mystic Path are not agreed as to the 
respective merits of Poverty (faqr) and Purity (safwaf). Some 
hold that Poverty is more perfect than Purity. PovertyTthey 
say, is complete annihilation in which every thought ceases to 
exist, and Purity is one of the " stations " (maqdmdf) of Poverty? 
when annihilation is gained, all "stations" vanish into nothing. 
This is ultimately the same question as that touching Poverty 
and Wealth, which has already been discussed. Those who_set 
Purity above Poverty say that Poverty is an existent thing 
(shay ast mawjM) and is capable of being named, whereas 
Purity is the being pure (sofa} from all existing things : ~safd 
is the essence of annihilation (fand), and Poverty is the essence 
of subsistence (baqd) : therefore Poverty is one of the names 
of "stations", but Purity is one of the names of perfection. 
This matter has been disputed at great length in the present 
age, and both parties have resorted to far-fetched and amazing 
verbal subtleties ; but it will be allowed on all sides that Poverty 
and Purity are not mere words and nothing else. The dis 
putants have made up a doctrine out of words and have neglected 
to apprehend meanings : they have abandoned discussion of 
the Truth. Negation of arbitrary will they call negation of 
essence, and affirmation of desire they regard as affirmation 
of essence. The Mystic Path is far removed from such idle 
fictions. In short, the Saints of God attain to a place where 
place no longer exists, where all degrees and " stations " dis 
appear, and where outward expressions fall off from the under 
lying realities, so that neither " spiritual delight " (shurti) is left, 
nor "taste" (dhawq\ nor "sobriety" (sahw\ nor " effacement " 


(inaJiw). These controversialists, however, seek a forced name 
with which to cloak ideas that do not admit of being named or 
of being used as attributes ; and everyone applies to them what 
ever name he thinks most estimable, Now, in dealing with the 
ideas themselves, the question of superiority does not arise, but 
when names are given to them, one will necessarily be preferred 
to another. Accordingly, to some people the name of Poverty 
seemed to be superior and of greater worth because it is con 
nected with renunciation and humility, while others preferred 
Purity, and held it the more honourable because it comes nearer 
to the notion of discarding all that contaminates and annihi 
lating all that has a taint of the world. They adopted these 
two names as symbols of an inexpressible idea, in order that 
they might converse with each other on that subject and make 
their own state fully known ; and there is no difference of 
opinion in this sect (the Sufis), although some use the term 
" Poverty " and others the term " Purity " to express the same 
idea. With the verbalists (aJd-i ibdrat), on the contrary, who 
are ignorant of the true meaning of these ideas, the whole 
question is an affair of words. To conclude, whoever has made 
that idea his own and fixed his heart upon it, heeds not whether 
they call him "Poor" (faqir) or "Pure" (Stift), since both 
these appellations are forced names for an idea that cannot be 
brought under any name. 

This controversy dates from the time of Abu 1-Hasan Sumnun. 
He, on occasions when he was in a state of revelation (kashf) 
akin to subsistence (baqd), used to set Poverty above Purity ; 
and on being asked by spiritualists (arbdb-i mctdni) why he did 
so, he replied : " Inasmuch as I naturally delight in annihilation 
and abasement, and no less in subsistence and exaltation, 
I prefer Purity to Poverty when I am in a. state akin to 
annihilation, and Poverty to Purity when I am in a state 
akin to subsistence ; for Poverty is the name of subsistence 
and Purity that of annihilation. In the latter state I annihilate 
from myself the sight (consciousness) of subsistence, and in the 
former state I annihilate from myself the sight of annihilation, 


so that my nature becomes dead both to annihilation and to 
subsistence." Now this, regarded as an explanation (^ibdrat\ 
is an excellent saying, but neither annihilation nor subsistence 
can be annihilated : every subsistent thing that suffers annihila 
tion is annihilated from itself, and every annihilated thing that 
becomes subsistent is subsistent from itself. Annihilation is 
a term of which it is impossible to speak hyperbolically. If 
a person says that annihilation is annihilated, he can only be 
expressing hyperbolically the non-existence of any vestige of 
the idea of annihilation ; but so long as any vestige of existence 
remains, annihilation has not yet come to pass ; and when it 
has been attained, the "annihilation" thereof is nothing but 
self-conceit flattered by meaningless phrases. In the vanity 
and rashness of youth I composed a discourse of this kind, 
entitled the " Book of Annihilation and Subsistence " (Kitdb-i 
Fand u Baqd\ but in the present work I will set forth the 
whole matter with caution, please God the Almighty and 

This is the distinction between Purity and Poverty in the 
spiritual sense. It is otherwise when Purity and Poverty are 
considered in their practical aspect, namely, the denuding one s 
self of worldly things (tajrid) and the casting away of all one s 
possessions. Here the real point is the difference between 
Poverty (faqr) and Lowliness (inaskanaf). Some Shaykhs 
assert that the Poor (faqir) are superior to the Lowly (iniskin\ 
because God has said, " the poor who are straitened in the way 
of Allah, unable to go to and fro on the earth" (Kor. ii, 274): 
the Lowly possess means of livelihood, which the Poor renounce : 
therefore Poverty is honour and Lowliness abasement, for, 
according to the rule of the Mystic Path, he who possesses 
the means of livelihood is base, as the Apostle said : " Woe 
befall those who worship the dinar and the dirhem, woe befall 
those who worship garments with a nap ! " He who renounces 
the means of livelihood is honoured, inasmuch as he depends 
on God, while he who has means depends on them. Others, 
again, declare the Lowly to be superior, because the Apostle 


said : " Let me live lowly, and let me die lowly, and raise me 
from the dead among the lowly ! " whereas, speaking of Poverty, 
he said, "Poverty is near to being unbelief." On this account 
the Poor are dependent on a means, but the Lowly are 
independent. In the domain of Sacred Law, some divines 
hold that the Poor are those who have a sufficiency (sahib 
bulgha], and the Lowly those who are free from \vorldly 
cares (jnujarrad) ; but other divines hold the converse of this 
view. Hence the name " Sufi " is given to the Lowly by 
followers of the Path (ahl-i maqdmdf) who adopt the former 
opinion : they prefer Purity (safwaf] to Poverty. Those Sufis 
who accept the latter view prefer Poverty to Purity, for a similar 


ON BLAME (Maldmat). 

The path of Blame has been trodden by some of the Sufi 
Shaykhs. Blame has a great effect in making love sincere. 
The followers of the Truth (ah I- i haqq} are distinguished^by 
their being the objects of vulgar blame, especially the eminent 
ones of this community. The Apostle, who is the exemplar 
and leader of the adherents of the Truth, and who marches at 
the head of the lovers (of God), was honoured and held in good 
repute by all until the evidence of the Truth was revealed to 
him and inspiration came upon him. Then the people loosed 
their tongues to blame him. Some said, " He is a soothsayer ; " 
others, " He is a poet ; " others, " He is a madman ; " others, 
"He is a liar;" and so forth. And God says, describing the 
true believers : " They fear not the blame of anyone ; that is the 
grace of God which He bestozvs on ivhomsoever He pleases ; God 
is bounteous and wise" (Kor. v, 59). Such is the ordinance of 
God, that He causes those who discourse of Him to be blamed 
by the whole world, but preserves their hearts from being pre 
occupied by the world s blame. This He does in His jealousy : 
He guards His lovers from glancing aside to " other " (ghayr\ 
lest the eye of any stranger should behold the beauty of their 
state ; and He guards them also from seeing themselves, lest 
they should regard their own beauty and fall into self-conceit 
and arrogance. Therefore He hath set the vulgar over them 
to loose the tongues of blame against them, and hath made the 
"blaming soul" (nafs-i lawwdma] part of their composition, in 
order that they may be blamed by others for whatever they do, 
and by themselves for doing evil or for doing good imperfectly. 

Now this is a firm principle in the Way to God, for in this 
Path there is no taint or veil more difficult to remove than 


self-conceit. God in His kindness hath barred the way of 
error against His friends. Their actions, however good, are not 
approved by the vulgar, who do not see them as they really 
are; and they themselves do not regard their works of mortifi 
cation, however numerous, as proceeding from their own strength 
and power : consequently they are not pleased with themselves 
and are protected from self-conceit. Whoever is approved by 
God is disapproved by the vulgar, and whoever is elected 
by himself is not among the elect of God. Thus Iblis was 
approved by mankind and accepted by the angels, and he was 
pleased with himself; but since God was not pleased with him, 
their approval only brought a curse upon him. Adam, on the 
other hand, was disapproved by the angels, who said : " Wilt 
TJwu place there [on the earth] one ivko will do evil tJierein ? " 
(Kor. ii, 28), and was not pleased with himself, for he said : 
"O Lord, we have done ourselves a wrong" (Kor. vii, 22) ; but 
since God was pleased with him, the disapproval of the angels 
and his own displeasure bore the fruit of mercy. Let all men, 
therefore, know that those accepted by us are rejected by the 
people, and that those accepted by the people are rejected by us. 
Hence the blame of mankind is the food of the friends of God, 
because it is a token of Divine approval ; it is the delight of the 
saints of God, because it is a sign of nearness to Him : they 
rejoice in it even as other men rejoice in popularity. There is 
a Tradition, which the Apostle received from Gabriel, that God 
said : " My friends (saints) are under My cloak : save Me, none 
knoweth them except My friends." 


Now blame {maldmaf] is of three kinds : it may result 

(1) from following the right way (inaldmat-i rdst raftari), or 

(2) from an intentional act (inaldmat-i qasd kardan\ or (3) from 
abandonment of the \w*(maldmat-i tark kardari). In the first 
case, a man is blamed who minds his own business and per 
forms his religious duties and does not omit any practice of 


devotion : he is entirely indifferent to the behaviour of the 
people towards him. In the second case a man is greatly 
honoured by the people and pointed out among them : his 
heart inclines to the honour in which he is held, and becomes 
attached to those by whom it is bestowed : he wishes to make 
himself independent of them and devote himself wholly to God ; 
therefore he purposely incurs their blame by committing some 
act which is offensive to them but which is no violation of 
the law : in consequence of his behaviour they wash their hands 
of him. In the third case, a man is driven by his natural 
infidelity and erroneous beliefs to abandon the sacred law and 
abjure its observances, and say to himself, " I am treading the 
path of blame : " in this case his behaviour depends on himself 

He who follows the right way and refuses to act hypo 
critically, and refrains from ostentation, pays no heed to the 
blame of the vulgar, but invariably takes his own course : it is 
all one to him what name they call him by. I find among the 
anecdotes (of holy men) that one day Shaykh Abu Tahir 
Harami was seen in the bazaar, riding a donkey and attended 
by one of his disciples. Some person cried out, " Here comes 
that old freethinker ! " The indignant disciple rushed at the 
speaker, trying to strike him, and the whole bazaar was filled 
with tumult. The Shaykh said to his disciple: "If you will be 
quiet, I will show you something that will save you from trouble 
of this sort." When they returned home, he bade the disciple 
bring a certain box, which contained letters, and told him to 
look at them. "Observe," he said, "how the writers address me. 
One calls me the Shaykh of Islam , another the pure Shaykh , 
another the ascetic Shaykh , another the Shaykh of the two 
Sanctuaries , and so on. They are all titles, there is no mention 
of my name. I am none of these things, but every person gives 
me the title which accords with his belief concerning me. If 
that poor fellow did the same just now, why should you quarrel 
with him? " 

He who incurs blame purposely and resigns honour and 


withdraws from authority is like the Caliph Uthman who, 
although he possessed four hundred slaves, one day came forth 
from his plantation of date-palms carrying a bundle of firewood 
on his head. On being asked why he did this, he answered : 
" I wish to make trial of myself." He would not let the dignity 
which he enjoyed hinder him from any work. A similar tale 
related of the Imam Abu Hanffa will be found in this treatise. 
And a story is told about Abu Yazid, that, when he was entering 
Rayy on his way from the Hijaz, the people of that city ran to 
meet him in order that they might show him honour. Their 
attentions distracted him and turned his thoughts away from 
God. When he came to the bazaar, he took a loaf from his 
sleeve and began to eat. They all departed, for it was the 
month of Ramadan. He said to a disciple who was travelling 
with him: "You see! as soon as I perform a single article of the 
law, 1 they all reject me." In those days it was necessary, for 
incurring blame, to do something disapproved or extraordinary ; 
but in our time, if anyone desires blame, he need only lengthen 
a little his voluntary prayers or fulfil the religious practices 
which are prescribed : at once everybody will call him a 
hypocrite and impostor. 

He who abandons the law and commits an irreligious act, and 
says that he is following the rule of " blame ", is guilty of 
manifest wrong and wickedness and self-indulgence. There 
are many in the present age who seek popularity by this means, 
forgetting that one must already have gained popularity before 
deliberately acting in such a way as to make the people reject 
him ; otherwise, his making himself unpopular is a mere pretext 
for winning popularity. On a certain occasion I was in the 
company of one of these vain pretenders. He committed 
a wicked act and excused himself by saying that he did it 
for the sake of blame. One of the party said, "That is 
nonsense." He heaved a sigh. I said to him : " If you claim 
to be a Malamati and are firm in your belief, this gentleman s 

1 Abu Yazid, being at that time on a journey, was not legally bound to observe 
the fast. 


disapproval of what you have done ought to encourage you to 
persevere; and since he is seconding you in your chosen course, 
why are you so unfriendly and angry with him ? Your 
behaviour is more like pretence than pursuit of blame. Who 
ever claims to be guided by the Truth must give some proof 
of his assertion, and the proof consists in observing the Sunna 
(Ordinances of the Prophet). You make this claim, and yet 
I see that you have failed to perform an obligatory religious 
duty. Your conduct puts you outside the pale of Islam." 


The doctrine of Blame was spread abroad in this sect by 
the Shaykh of his age, Hamdun Qassar. He has many fine 
sayings on the subject. It is recorded that he said: Al-maldmat 
tark al-saldmat, " Blame is the abandonment of welfare." If 
anyone purposely abandons his own welfare and girds himself 
to endure misfortune, and renounces his pleasures and familiar 
ties, in hope that the glory of God will be revealed to him, 
the more he is separated from mankind the more he is united 
to God. Accordingly, the votaries of Blame turn their backs 
on that thing, namely welfare (saldmaf), to which the people 
of this world turn their faces, for the aspirations of the former 
are Unitarian (wahddnf). Ahmad b. Fatik relates that Husayn 
b. Mansur, in reply to the question " Who is the Sufi ? " said : 
" He who is single in essence " (wakddni al-dhd}. Hamdun 
also said concerning Blame : " It is a hard way for the vulgar 
to follow, but I will tell one part thereof: the Malamati is 
characterized by the hope of the Murjites and the fear of the 
Qadarites." This saying has a hidden meaning which demands 
explanation. It is the nature of man to be deterred by 
popularity more than any other thing from seeking access to 
God. Consequently he who fears this danger is always striving 
to avoid it, and there are two perils which confront him : 
firstly, the fear that he may be veiled from God by the favour 
of his fellow-creatures ; and secondly, the fear of committing 
some act for which the people will blame him and thereby 


fall into sin. Accordingly, the Malamati must, in the first 
instance, take care to have no quarrel with the people for 
what they say of him, either in this world or the next, and 
for the sake of his own salvation he must commit some act 
which, legally, is neither a great sin (kabtra} nor a trivial 
offence (saghira), in order that the people may reject him. 
Hence his fear in matters of conduct is like the fear of the 
Qadarites, and his hope in dealing with those who blame 
him is like the hope of the Murjites. In true love there is 
nothing sweeter than blame, because blame of the Beloved 
makes no impression on the lover s heart : he heeds not what 
strangers say, for his heart is ever faithful to the object of 
his love. 

" Tis sweet to be reviled for passion s sake" 

This sect (the Sufis) are distinguished above all creatures 
in the universe by choosing to be blamed in the body on 
account of the welfare of their souls ; and this high degree 
is not attained by the Cherubim or any spiritual beings, 
nor has it been reached by the ascetics, devotees, and seekers 
of God belonging to the nations of antiquity, but it is reserved 
for those of this nation who journey on the path of entire 
severance from the things of the world. 

In my opinion, to seek Blame is mere ostentation, and 
ostentation is mere hypocrisy. The ostentatious man purposely 
acts in such a way as to win popularity, while the Malamati 
purposely acts in such a way that the people reject him. 
Both have their thoughts fixed on mankind and do not pass 
beyond that sphere. The dervish, on the contrary, never 
even thinks of mankind, and when his heart has been 
broken away from them he is as indifferent to their repro- 
Bation as to their favour \ f he moves unfettered and free. 
I once said to a Malamati of Transoxania, with whom 
I had associated long enough to feel at my ease : " O brother, 
what is your object in these perverse actions?" He replied: 
" To make the people non-existent in regard to myself." " The 


people," I said, " are many, and during a lifetime you will not 
be^able to make them non-existent in regard to yourself; 
rather make yourself non-existent in regard to the people, 
so that you may be saved from all this trouble. Some who 
are occupied with the people imagine that the people are 
occupied with them. If you wish no one to see you, do not 
see yourself. Since all your evils arise from seeing yourself, 
what business have you with others ? If a sick man whose 
remedy lies in abstinence seeks to indulge his appetite, he is 
a fool." Others, again, practise the method of Blame from 
an ascetic motive : they wish to be despised by the people 
in order that they may mortify themselves, and it is their 
greatest delight to find themselves wretched and abased. 
Ibrahim b. Adham was asked, " Have you ever attained your 
desire ? " He answered : " Yes, twice ; on one occasion I was 
in a ship where nobody knew me. I was clad in common 
clothes and my hair was long, and my guise was such that 
all the people in the ship mocked and laughed at me. Among 
them was a buffoon, who was always coming and pulling my 
hair and tearing it out, and treating me with contumely after 
the manner of his kind. At that time I felt entirely satisfied, 
and I rejoiced in my garb. My joy reached its highest pitch 
one day when the buffoon rose from his place and super me 
minxit. On the second occasion I arrived at a village in 
heavy rain, which had soaked the patched frock on my body, 
and I was overcome by the wintry cold. I went to a mosque, 
but was refused admittance. The same thing happened at 
three other mosques where I sought shelter. In despair, as 
the cold strengthened its grip on my heart, I entered a bath 
house and drew my skirt close up to the stove. The smoke 
enveloped me and blackened my clothes and my face. Then 
also I felt entirely satisfied." 

Once I, All b. Uthman al-Jullabi, found myself in a difficulty. 
After many devotional exercises undertaken in the hope of 
clearing it away, I repaired as I had done with success on 
a former occasion to the tomb of Abu Yazi d, and stayed 


beside it for a space of three months, performing every 

day three ablutions and thirty purifications in the hope that 

my difficulty might be removed. It was not, however; so 

I departed and journeyed towards Khurasan. One night 

I arrived at a village in that country where there was 

a convent (khdnaqdJi) inhabited by a number of aspirants to 

Sufiism. I was wearing a dark-blue frock (muraqqct-i 

khishari), such as is prescribed by the Sunna ; 1 but I had 

with me nothing of the Sufi s regular equipment (dlat-i ahl-i 

rasni) except a staff and a leathern water-bottle (rakwa}. 

I appeared very contemptible in the eyes of these Sufis, 

who did not know me. They regarded only my external 

habit and said to one another, " This fellow is not one of us." 

And so in truth it was : I was not one of them, but I had 

to pass the night in that place. They lodged me on a roof, 

while they themselves went up to a roof above mine, and set 

before me dry bread which had turned green, while I was 

drawing into my nostrils the savour of the viands with which 

they regaled themselves. All the time they were addressing 

derisive remarks to me from the roof. When they finished 

the food, they began to pelt me with the skins of the melons 

which they had eaten, by way of showing how pleased they 

were with themselves and how lightly they thought of me. 

I said in my heart : " O Lord God, were it not that they are 

wearing the dress of Thy friends, I would not have borne 

this from them." And the more they scoffed at me the 

more glad became my heart, so that the endurance of this 

burden was the means of delivering me from that difficulty 

which I have mentioned ; and forthwith I perceived why the 

Shaykhs have always given fools leave to associate with them 

and for what reason they submit to their annoyance. 

1 I. adds in margin "for travellers ". 




He is placed by the Sufi Shaykhs at the head of those who 

v ."" p 7 

have adopted the contemplative life (inushdhadat\ on account 
of the fewness of the stories and traditions which he related ; 
while ( Umar is placed at the head of those who have adopted 
the purgative life (mtydhadaf), because of his rigour and assiduity 
in devotion. It is written among the genuine Traditions, and is 
well known to scholars, that when Abu Bakr prayed at night 
he used to recite the Koran in a low voice, whereas Umar used 
to recite in a loud voice. The Apostle asked Abu Bakr why 
he did this. Abu Bakr replied: " He with whom I converse will 
hear." Umar, in his turn, replied : " I wake the drowsy and 
drive away the Devil." The one gave a token of contemplation, 
the other of purgation. Now purgation, compared with con 
templation, is like a drop of water in a sea, and for this reason 
the Apostle said that Umar, the glory of Islam, was only 
(equivalent to) a single one of the good deeds of Abu Bakr 
(ha I anta Hid hasanat HH min hasandti Abi Bakr). It is recorded 
that Abu Bakr said : " Our abode is transitory, our life therem 
is but a loan, our breaths are numbered, and our indolence is 
manifest." By this he signified that the world is too worthless 
to engage our thoughts ; for whenever you occupy yourself with 
what is perishable, you are made blind to that which is eternal : 
the friends of God turn their backs on the world and the flesh 
which veil them from Him, and they decline to act as if they 
were owners of a thing that is really the property of another. 
And he said : " O God, give me plenty of the world and make 


me desirous of renouncing it ! " This saying has a hidden 
sense, viz. : " First bestow on me worldly goods that I may give 
thanks for them, and then help me to abstain from them for 
Thy sake, so that I may have the treble merit of thanksgiving 
and liberality and abstinence, and that my poverty may be 
voluntary, not compulsory." These words refute the Director 
of mystical practice, who said : " He whose poverty is com 
pulsory is more perfect than he whose poverty is voluntary; 
for if it be compulsory, he is the creature (san at) of poverty, and 
if it be voluntary, poverty is his creature ; and it is better that 
his actions should be free from any attempt to gain poverty for 
himself than that he should seek to acquire it by his own effort." 
I say in answer to this : The creature of poverty is most 
evidently that person who, while enjoying independence, is 
possessed by the desire for poverty, and labours to recover it 
from the clutches of the world ; not that person who, in the 
state of poverty, is possessed by the desire for independence 
and has to go to the houses of evildoers and the courts of 
governors for the sake of earning money. The creature of 
poverty is he who falls from independence to poverty, not he 
who, being poor, seeks to become powerful. Abu Bakr is the 
foremost of all mankind after the prophets, and it is not 
permissible that anyone should take precedence of him, for 
he set voluntary poverty above compulsory poverty. This 
doctrine is held by all the Stiff Shaykhs except the spiritual 
Director whom we have mentioned. 

Zuhri relates that, when Abu Bakr received the oaths of 
allegiance as Caliph, he mounted the pulpit and pronounced 
an oration, in the course of which he said : " By God, I never 
coveted the command nor desired it even for a day or a night, 
nor ever asked God for it openly or in secret, nor do I take any 
pleasure in having it." Now, when God causes anyone to 
attain perfect sincerity and exalts him to the rank of fixity 
(tamkin) he waits for Divine inspiration, that it may guide him ; 
and according as he is bidden, he will be either a beggar or 
a prince, without exercising his own choice and will. Thus 


Abu Bakr, the Veracious, resigned himself to the will of God 
from first to last. Hence the whole sect of Sufis have made 
him their pattern in stripping themselves of worldly things, in 
fixity (tamkin), in eager desire for poverty, and in longing to 
renounce authority. He is the Imam of the Moslems in 
general, and of the Sufis in particular. 


He was specially distinguished by sagacity and resolution, 
and is the author of many fine sayings on Sufiism. The Apostle 
said : " The Truth speaks by the tongue of Umar ; " and again, 
" There have been inspired relaters (tnukaddatk?*} in the 
peoples of antiquity, and if there be any such in my people, 
it is Umar." Umar said : " Retirement ( uzlat) is a means of 
relieving one s self of bad company." Retirement is of two 
sorts: firstly, turning one s back on mankind (i -rdd az khalq], 
and secondly, entire severance from them (inqitfr az ishdn\ 
Turning one s back on mankind consists in choosing a solitary 
retreat, and in renouncing the society of one s fellow-creatures 
externally, and in quiet contemplation of the faults in one s own 
conduct, and in seeking release for one s self from intercourse 
with men, and in making all people secure from one s evil 
actions. But severance from mankind is a spiritual state, which 
is not connected with anything external. When a person is 
severed from mankind in spirit, he knows nothing of created 
beings and no thought thereof can take possession of his mind. 
Such a person, although he is living among the people, is isolated 
from them, and his spirit dwells apart from them. This is 
a very exalted station. Umar followed the right path herein, 
for externally he lived among the people as their Commander 
and Caliph. His words show clearly that although spiritualists 
may outwardly mix with mankind, their hearts always cling tq_ 
God and return to Him in all circumstances. They regard any 
intercourse they may have with men as an affliction sent by 
God ; and that intercourse does not divert them from God, since__ 
the world never becomes pure in the eyes of those whom God 


loves. Umar said: "An abode which is founded upon affliction 
cannot possibly be without affliction." The Sufis make him 
their model in wearing a patched frock (muraqqa a] and 
rigorously performing the duties of religion. 


It is related by Abdallah b. Rabah and Abu Qatada as 
follows : " We were with the Commander of the Faithful, 
Uthman, on the day when his house was attacked. His slaves, 
seeing the crowd of rebels gathered at the door, took up arms. 
Uthman said: Whoever of you does not take up arms is a free 
man. We went forth from the house in fear of our lives. 
Hasan b. AH met us on the way, and we returned with him to 
Uthman, that we might know on what business he was going. 
After he had saluted Uthman and condoled with him he said : 
O Prince of the Faithful, I dare not draw sword against 
Moslems without thy command. Thou art the true Imam. 
Give the order and I will defend thee. Uthman replied : 
O my cousin, go back to thy house and sit there until God 
shall bring His decree to pass. We do not wish to shed 
blood. " 

These words betoken resignation in the hour of calamity, 
and show that the speaker had attained the rank of friendship 
with God (khullaf). Similarly, when Nimrod lit a fire and put 
Abraham in the sling (fa/a) 1 of a catapult, Gabriel came to 
Abraham and said, " Dost thou want anything ? " He answered, 
" From thee, no." Gabriel said, " Then ask God." J He_answered, 
"Since He knows in what plight I am I need not ask Him." 
Here Uthman was in the position of the Friend (Khali l) 2 in 
the catapult, and the seditious mob was in the place of the fire, 
and Hasan was in the place of Gabriel ; but Abraham was 
saved, while Uthman perished. Salvation (najdt) is connected 
with subsistence (baqd) and destruction (kald) with annihilation 
(fand) : on this topic something has been said above. The 

1 Arabic kiffat. See Dozy, Supplement, ii, 476. 

2 Abraham is called by Moslems " the Friend of God " (al-Khalil). 


Sufi s take Uthman as their exemplar in sacrificing life and 
property, in resigning their affairs to God, and in sincere 



His renown and rank in this Path (of Sufiism) were very 
high. He_explained the principles (usiil) of Divine truth with 
exceeding subtlety, so that Junayd said : " All is our Shaykh 
as regards the principles and as regards the endurance of 
affliction," i.e. in the theory and practice of Sufiism ; for Sufi s 
call the theory of this Path "principles " (usul), and its practice 
consists entirely in the endurance of affliction. It is related 
that some one begged All to give him a precept (wasiyyat). 
Ah replied : " Do not let your wife and children be your chief 
cares ; for if they be friends of God, God will look after His 
friends, and if they are enemies of God, why should you take 
care of God s enemies?" This question is connected with the 
severance of the heart from all things save God, who keeps His 
servants in whatever state He willeth. Thus Moses left the 
daughter of Shu ayb x in a most miserable plight and committed 
her to God ; and Abraham took Hagar and Ishmael and 
brought them to a barren valley and committed them to God. 
Both these prophets, instead of making wife and child their 
chief care, fixed their hearts on God. This saying resembles 
the answer which All gave to one who asked what is the purest 
thing that can be acquired. He said : " It is that which belongs 
to a heart made rich by God " (gkand al-qalb billd/i). The 
heart that is so enriched is not made poor by having no worldly 
goods nor glad by having them. This subject really turns on 
the theory regarding poverty and purity, which has been already 
discussed. All is a model for the Sufis in respect to the truths 
of outward expressions and the subtleties of inward meanings, 
the stripping one s self of all property either of this world or of 
the next, and consideration of the Divine providence. 

1 Moses is said to have married one of the daughters of Shu ayb. See Kor. xxviii, 
22-8, where Shu ayb, however, is not mentioned by name. 





He was profoundly versed in Sufiism. He said, by way of 
precept : " See that ye guard your hearts, for God knows your 
secret thoughts." "Guarding the heart" consists in not turning 
to others (than God) and in keeping one s secret thoughts from 
disobedience to the Almighty. When the Qadarites got the 
upper hand, and the doctrine of Rationalism became widely 
spread, Hasan of Basra wrote to Hasan b. All begging for 
guidance, and asking him to state his opinion on the perplexing 
subject of predestination and on the dispute whether men have 
any power to act (istitd af). Hasan b. All replied that in his 
opinion those who did not believe in the determination (qadar) 
of men s good and evil actions by God were infidels, and that 
those who imputed their sins to God were miscreants, i.e. the 
Qadarites deny the Divine providence, and the Jabarites impute 
their sins to God ; hence men are free to acquire their actions 
according to the power given them by God, and thus our 
religion takes the middle course between free-will and predesti 
nation. I have read in the Anecdotes that when Hasan b. All 
was seated at the door of his house in Kufa, a Bedouin came 
up and reviled him and his father and his mother. Hasan rose 
and said : " O Bedouin, perhaps you are hungry or thirsty, or 
what ails you ? " The Bedouin took no heed, but continued to 
abuse him. Hasan ordered his slave to bring a purse of silver, 
and gave it to the fellow, saying : " O Bedouin, excuse me, for 
there -is nothing else in the house; had there been more, I should 
not have grudged it to you." On hearing this, the Bedouin 


exclaimed : " I bear witness that thou art the grandson of the 
Apostle of God. I came hither to make trial of thy mildness." 
Such are the true saints and Shaykhs who care not whether 
they are praised or blamed, and listen calmly to abuse. 


He is the martyr of Karbala, and all Sufis are agreed that he 
was in the right. So long as the Truth was apparent, ne followed 
^it ; but when it was lost he drew the sword and never rested 
until he_sacrified his dear life for God s sake. The Apostle 
distinguished him by many tokens of favour. Thus Umar 
b. al-Khattab relates that one day he saw the Apostle crawling 
on his knees, while Husayn rode on his back holding a string, 
of which the other end was in the Apostle s mouth. Umar 
said : " What an excellent camel thou hast, O father of 
Abdallah ! " The Apostle replied : " What an excellent rider 
is he, O Umar ! " It is recorded that Husayn said : " Thy 
religion is the kindest of brethren towards thee," because a 
man s salvation consists in following religion, and his perdition 
in disobeying it. 


He said that the most blessed man in this world and in the 
next is he who, when he is pleased, is not led by his pleasure 
into wrong, and when he is angry, is not carried by his anger 
beyond the bounds of right. This is the character of those who 
have attained perfect rectitude (kamdl-i mustaqiuidn). Husayn 
used to call him All the Younger ( All Asghar). When 
Husayn and his children were killed at Karbala, there was 
none left except All to take care of the women ; and he was 
ill. The women were brought unveiled on camels to Yazid 
* b. Mu awiya may God curse him, but not his father ! at 
Damascus. Some one said to All : " How are ye this morning, 
O All and O members of the House of Mercy ? " All replied : 
" We are in the same position among our people as the people 
of Moses among Pharaoh s folk, who slaughtered their sons 


and took their women alive; we do not know morning from 
evening on account of the reality of our affliction." 

[The author then relates the well-known story of Hisham 
b. Abd al-Malik s encounter with Ah b. Husayn at Mecca 
how the Caliph, who desired to kiss the Black Stone but was 
unable to reach it, saw the crowd immediately make way for 
All and retire to a respectful distance ; how a man of Syria 
asked the Caliph to tell him the name of this person who was 
held in so great veneration ; how Hisham feigned ignorance, 
for fear that his partisans should be shaken in allegiance to 
himself; and how the poet Farazdaq stepped forward and 
recited the splendid encomium beginning l 

" This is he whose footprint is known to the valley of Mecca , 
He whom the Temple knoivs, and the unhallowed territory 

and the Jwly ground. 

This is the son of tJie best of all the servants of God, 
This is the pious, the elect, the pure, the eminent" 

Hisham was enraged and threw Farazdaq into prison. Alf 
sent to him a purse containing 12,000 dirhems ; but the poet 
returned it, with the message that he had uttered many lies 
in the panegyrics on princes and governors which he was 
accustomed to compose for money, and that he had addressed 
these verses to All as a partial expiation for his sins in that 
respect, and as a proof of his affection towards the House of 
the Prophet. All, however, begged to be excused from taking 
back what he had already given away ; and Farazdaq at last 
consented to receive the money.] 

Some say that his " name of honour " was Abu Abdallah. 
His nickname was Baqir. He was distinguished for his know 
ledge of the abstruse sciences and for his subtle indications as 
to the meaning of the Koran. It is related that on one occasion 
a king, who wished to destroy him, summoned him to his 

1 Twenty-five verses are quoted. 


presence. When Baqir appeared, the king begged his pardon, 
bestowed gifts upon him, and dismissed him courteously. On 
being asked why he had acted in this manner, the king replied : 
" When he came in, I saw two lions, one on his right hand and 
one on his left, who threatened to destroy me if I should attempt 
to do him any harm." In his explanation of the verse, " Whoso 
ever believes in the taghut and believes in God" (Kor. ii, 257), 
Baqir said : " Anything that diverts thee from contemplation of 
the Truth is thy tdg/ttit." One of his intimate friends relates 
that when a portion of the night had passed and Baqir had 
finished his litanies, he used to cry aloud to God : " O my God 
and my Lord, night has come, and the power of monarchs has 
^J N ^ ceased, and the stars are shining in the sky, and all mankind 
are asleep and silent, and the Banu Umayya have gone to rest 
> j^> and shut their doors and set guards to watch over them ; and 
those who desired anything from them have forgotten their 
business. Thou, O God, art the Living, the Lasting, the Seeing, 
the Knowing. Sleep and slumber cannot overtake Thee. He 
who does not acknowledge that Thou art such as I have 
described is unworthy of Thy bounty. O Thou whom no thing 
withholds from any other thing, whose eternity is not impaired 
by Day and Night, whose doors of Mercy are open to all who 
call upon Thee, and whose entire treasures are lavished on those 
who praise Thee : Thou dost never turn away the beggar, and 
no creature in earth or heaven can prevent. the true believer who 
implores Thee from gaining access to Thy court. O Lord, 
when I remember death and the grave and the reckoning, how 
can I take joy in this world ? Therefore, since I acknowledge 
Thee to be One, I beseech Thee to give me peace in the hour 
of death, without torment, and pleasure in the hour of reckoning, 
without punishment." 


He is celebrated among the Sufi Shaykhs for the subtlety of 
his discourse and his acquaintance with spiritual truths, and 
he has written famous books in explanation of Sufiism. It is 


related that he said : " Whoever knows God turns his back on 
all else." The gnostic ( drif) turns his back on " other " (than 
God) and is cut off from worldly things, because his knowledge 
(ina rifaf) is pure nescience (nakiraf), inasmuch as nescience 
forms part of his knowledge, and knowledge forms part of his 
nescience. Therefore the gnostic is separated from mankind 
and from thought of them, and he is joined to God. " Other " 
has no place in his heart, that he should pay any heed to them, 
and their existence has no worth for him, that he should fix the 
remembrance of them in his mind. And it is related that he 
said: "There is no right service without repentance, because God 
hath put repentance before service, and hath said, Those who 
repent and serve" (Kor. ix, 113). Repentance (tawbat) is the 
first of the " stations " in this Path, and service (^ibddaf) is the 
last. When God mentioned the disobedient He called them to 
repentance and said, "Repent unto God together" (Kor. xxiv, 31); 
but when He mentioned the Apostle He referred to his 
" servantship " {^ubudiyyat}, and said, "He revealed to His 
servant that which He revealed" (Kor. liii, 10). I have read in 
the Anecdotes that Dawud Ta i came to Ja far Sadiq and said : 
" O son of the Apostle of God, counsel me, for my mind is 
darkened." Ja far replied : " O Abu Sulayman, thou art the 
ascetic of thy time : what need hast thou of counsel from me ? " 
He answered : " O son of the Apostle, thy family are superior to 
all mankind, and it is incumbent on thee to give counsel to all." 
"O Abu Sulayman," cried Ja far, "I am afraid that at the 
Resurrection my grandsire will lay hold on me, saying, Why 
didst not thou fulfil the obligation to follow in my steps ? 
This is not a matter that depends on authentic and sure affinity 
(to Muhammad), but on good conduct in the presence of the 
Truth." Dawud Ta i began to weep and exclaimed : " O Lord 
God, if one whose clay is moulded with the water of Prophecy, 
whose grandsire is the Apostle, and whose mother is Fatima 
(Batiil) if such a one is distracted by doubts, who am I that 
I should be pleased with my dealings (towards God) ? " One 
day Ja far said to his clients : " Come, let us take a pledge that 


whoever amongst us shall gain deliverance on the Day of 
Resurrection shall intercede for all the rest." They said: "O son 
of the Apostle, how canst thou have need of our intercession 
since thy grandsire intercedes for all mankind?" Ja far replied: 
" My actions are such that I shall be ashamed to look my 
grandsire in the face on the Last Day." To see one s faults is 
a quality of perfection, and is characteristic of those who are 
established in the Divine presence, whether they be prophets, 
saints, or apostles. The Apostle said : " When God wishes 
a man well, He gives him insight into his faults." Whoever 
bows his head with humility, like a servant, God will exalt his 
state in both worlds. 

Now I shall mention briefly the People of the Veranda 
(Ahl-i Suffa). In a book entitled " The Highway of Religion " 
(Min/idj al-Din\ which I composed before the present work, 
I have given a detailed account of each of them, but here it will 
suffice to mention their names and " names of honour". 



Know that all Moslems are agreed that the Apostle had 
a number of Companions, who abode in his Mosque and engaged 
in devotion, renouncing the world and refusing to seek a liveli 
hood. God reproached the Apostle on their account and said : 
" Do not drive away those who call unto their Lord at morn 
and eve, desiring His face" (Kor. vi, 52). Their merits are 
proclaimed by the Book of God, and in many traditions of the 
Apostle which have come down to us. It is related by Ibn 
Abbas that the Apostle passed by the People of the Veranda, 
and saw their poverty and their self-mortification and said : 
" Rejoice ! for whoever of my community perseveres in the 
state in which ye are, and is satisfied with his condition, 
he shall be one of my comrades in Paradise." Among the 
Ahl-i Suffa J were Bilal b. Rabah, Salman al-Farisf, Abu Ubayda 
b. al-Jarrah, Abu 1-Yaqzan Ammar b. Yasir, Abdallah b. 
Mas ud al-Hudhali, his brother Utba b. Mas ud, Miqdad b. 
al-Aswad, Khabbab b. al-Aratt, Suhayb b. Sinan, Utba b. 
Ghazwan, Zayd b. al-Khattab, brother of the Caliph Umar ; 
Abu Kabsha, the Apostle s client ; Abu 1-Marthad Kinana b. 
al-Husayn al- Adawi ; Salim, client of Hudhayfa al-Yamam ; 
Ukkasha b. Mihsan ; Mas iid b. Rabf al-Farisi ; Abu Dharr 
Jundab b. Junada al-Ghifari ; Abdallah b. Umar ; Safwan b. 
Bayda ; Abu Darda Uwaym b. Amir; Abu Lubaba b. Abd 
al-Mundhir ; and Abdallah b. Badr al-Juhani. 

Shaykh Abu Abd al-Rahman Muhammad b. al-Husayn 
al-Sulami, 2 the traditionist (naqqdf) of Sufiism and transmitter 

1 I have corrected many of the following names, which are erroneously written in 
the Persian text, by reference to various Arabic works. 

2 See Brockelmann, i, 200. 



of the sayings of the Sufi Shaykhs, has written a separate history 
of the Ahl-i Suffa, in which he has recorded their virtues and 
merits and names and "names of honour". He has included 
among them Mistah b. Uthatha b. Abbad, whom I dislike 
because he began the slanders about A isha, the Mother of the 
Believers. Abu Hurayra, and Thawbdn, and Mu adh b. al-Harith, 
and Sa ib b. Khallad, and Thabit b. Wadf at, and Abu Isa 
Uwaym b. Sa ida, and Salim b. Umayr b. Thabit, and Abu 1- 
Yasar Ka b b. <Amr, and Wahb b. Ma qal, and Abdallah b. 
Unays, and Hajjaj b. Umar al-Aslami belonged to the Ahl-i 
Suffa. Now and then they had recourse to some means of 
livelihood (tctalluq ba-sababi kardandi), but all of them were 
in one and the same degree (of dignity). Verily, the generation 
of the Companions was the best of all generations ; and they 
were the best and most excellent of mankind, since God 
bestowed on them companionship with the Apostle and pre 
served their hearts from blemish. 


FOLLOWERS (al-Tdbi tiri). 


He lived in the time of the Apostle, but was prevented from 
seeing him, firstly by the ecstasy which overmastered him, and 
secondly by duty to his mother. The Apostle said to the 
Companions: "There is a man at Qaran, called Uways, who at 
the Resurrection will intercede for a multitude of my people, as 
many as the sheep of Rabi a and Mudar." Then turning to 
Umar and All, he said : " You will see him. He is a lowly 
man, of middle height, and hairy ; on his left side there is a 
white spot, as large as a dirhem, which is not from leprosy 
(/>$//), and he has a similar spot on the palm of his hand. 
When you see him, give him my greeting, and bid him pray 
for my people." After the Apostle s death Umar came to 
Mecca, and cried out in the course of a sermon : " O men of 
Najd, are there any natives of Qaran amongst you ? " They 
answered, " Yes " ; whereupon Umar sent for them and asked 
them about Uways. They said : " He is a madman who dwells 
in solitude and associates with no one. He does not eat what 
men eat, and he feels no joy or sorrow. When others smile he 
weeps, and when others weep he smiles." Umar said: "I wish 
to see him." They replied : " He lives in a desert, far from our 
camels." Umar and All set out in quest of him. They found 
him praying, and waited until he was finished. He saluted 
them and showed them the marks on his side and the palm of 
his hand. They asked his blessing and gave him the Apostle s 
greeting, and enjoined him to pray for the Moslem people. 
After they had stayed with him for a while, he said : " You 


have taken trouble (to see me); now return, for the Resurrection 
is near, when we shall see each other without having to say 
farewell. At present I am engaged in preparing for the 
Resurrection." When the men of Qaran came home, they 
exhibited great respect for Uways. He left his native place 
and came to Kiifa. One day he was seen by Harim b. Hayyan, 
but after that nobody saw him until the period of civil war. He 
fought for Ah , and fell a martyr at the battle of Siffin. 

It is related that he said: "Safety lies in solitude," because 
the hearTof the solitary is free from thought of " other_^_and 
in no circumstances does he hope for anything from mankind. 
Let none imagine, however, that solitude (wahdat) merely 
consists in living alone. So long as the Devil associates with 
a man s heart, and sensual passion holds sway in his breast, and 
any thought of this world or the next occurs to him in such 
a way as to make him conscious of mankind, he is not truly in 
solitude ; since it is all one whether he takes pleasure in the 
thing itself or in the thought of it. Accordingly, the true 
solitary is not disturbed by society, but he who is preoccupied 
"seeks in vain to acquire freedom from thought by secluding 
himself. In order to be cut off from mankind one must become 
intimate with God, and those who have become intimate with 
God are not hurt by intercourse with mankind. 


He went to visit Uways Qarani, but on arriving at Qaran he 
found that Uways was no longer there. Deeply disappointed, 
he returned to Mecca, where he learned that Uways was living 
at Kufa. He repaired thither, but could not discover him for 
a long time. At last he set out for Basra and on the way he 
saw Uways, clad in a patched frock, performing an ablution on 
the banks of the Euphrates. As soon as he came up from the 
shore of the river and combed his beard, Harim advanced to 
meet him and saluted him. Uways said : " Peace be with thee, 
O Harim b. Hayyan ! " Harim cried : " How did you know 
that I am Harim?" Uways answered: "My spirit knew thy 


spirit." He said to Harim : " Keep watch over thy heart " 
(^alayka bi-qalbikd], i.e. " Guard thy heart from thoughts of 
other ". This saying has two meanings : (i) " Make thy heart 
obedient to God by self-mortification ", and (2) " Make thyself 
obedient to thy heart ". These are two sound principles. It is 
the business of novices (murfddn} to make their hearts obedient 
to God in order to purge them from familiarity with vain desires 
and passions, and sever them from unseemly thoughts, and fix 
them on the method of gaining spiritual health, on the keeping 
of the commandments, and on contemplation of the signs of 
God, so that their hearts may become the shrine of Love. To 
make one s self obedient to one s heart is the business of adepts 
(kdmildn\ whose hearts God has illumined with the light of 
Beauty, and delivered from all causes and means, and invested 
with the robe of proximity (gnrb\ and thereby has revealed to 
them His bounties and has chosen them to contemplate Him 
and to be near Him: hence He has made their bodies accordant 
with their hearts. The former class are masters of their hearts 
(sahib al-qulub), the latter are under the dominion of their hearts 
(inaghlub al-qulub) ; the former retain their attributes (bdqi /- 
sifat\ the latter have lost their attributes (fdni ^l-sifaf). The 
truth of this matter goes back to the words of God : Illd ^ibddaka 
minhumu ^ l-muklilasina, " Except such of them as are Thy 
purified (chosen) servants" (Kor. xv, 40). Here some read 
mukhlisina instead of mukhlasina. The mukhlis (purifying 
one s self) is active, and retains his attributes, but the mukhlas 
(purified) is passive, and has lost his attributes. I will explain 
this question more fully elsewhere. The latter class, who make 
their bodies accordant with their hearts, and whose hearts 
abide in contemplation of God, are of higher rank than those 
who by their own effort make their hearts comply with the 
Divine commandments. This subject has its foundation in 
the principles of sobriety (sahw) and intoxication (sukr\ and 
in those of contemplation (inushdhadaf) and self-mortification 




His "name of honour" was Abu All ; according to others, 
Abu Muhammad or Abu Sa id. He is held in high regard and 
esteem by the Sufi s. He gave subtle directions relating to the 
science of practical religion (^ilm-i mu dmalaf}. I have read in 
the Anecdotes that a Bedouin came to him and asked him 
about patience (sabr). Hasan replied: "Patience is of two 
sorts: firstly, patience in misfortune and affliction; and secondly, 
patience to refrain from the things which God has commanded 
us to renounce and has forbidden us to pursue." The Bedouin 
said..: "Thou art an ascetic; I never saw anyone more ascetic 
than thou art." " O Bedouin ! " cried Hasan, " my asceticism is 
nothing but desire, and my patience is nothing but lack of 
fortitude." The Bedouin begged him to explain this saying, 
" for [said he] thou hast shaken my belief." Hasan replied : 
>fc " My patience in misfortune and my submission proclaim my 
r x fear _o_H ell- fire, and this is lack of fortitude (jaza 1 } ; and my 
asceticism in this world is desire for the next world, and this is 

the quintessence of desire. How excellent is he who takes no 
thought of his own interest ! so that his patience is for God s 
sake, not for the saving of himself from Hell; and his asceticism 
is for God s sake, not for the purpose of bringing himself into 
Paradise. This is the mark of true sincerity." And it is related 
that he said : " Association with the wicked produces suspicion 
of the good." This saying is very apt and suitable to the 
people of the present age, who all disbelieve in the honoured 
friends of God. The reason of their disbelief is that they 
associate with pretenders to Sufiism, who have only its external 
forms ; and perceiving their actions to be perfidious, their 
tongues false, their ears listening to idle quatrains, their eyes 
following pleasure and lust, and their hearts set on amassing 
unlawful or dubious lucre, they fancy that aspirants to Sufiism 
behave in the same manner, or that this is the doctrine of the 
Sufis themselves, whereas, on the contrary, the Sufis act in 
obedience to God, and speak the word of God, and keep the 
love of God in their hearts and the voice (sanid^ of God in 


their ears, and the beauty of Divine contemplation in their 
eyes, and all their thoughts are fixed on the gaining of holy 
mysteries in the place where Vision is vouchsafed to them. If 
evildoers have appeared among them and have adopted their 
practices, the evil must be referred to those who commit it. 
Anyone who associates with the wicked members of a com 
munity does so through his own wickedness, for he would 
associate with the good if there were any good in him. 


It is said that he was a man of devout nature who made 
a show of hypocrisy, not a hypocrite who pretended to be 
devout. This way of acting is approved in Sufiism and is held 
laudable by all the Shaykhs. He said : " Be content with 
a little of this world while thy religion is safe, even as some 
are content with much thereof while their religion is lost," 
i.e. poverty without injury to religion is better than riches with 
heedlessness. It is related that when he was at Mecca a man 
came to him and said : " Tell me a lawful thing in which there 
is nothing unlawful." He replied : " Praise (dhikr) of God is 
a lawful thing in which there is nothing unlawful, and praise 
of aught else is an unlawful thing in which there is nothing 
lawful," because your salvation lies in the former and your 
perdition in the latter. 




His conversion (tawbaf) was begun by Hasan of Basra. At 
first he was a usurer and committed all sorts of wickedness, 
but God gave him a sincere repentance, and he learned from 
Hasan something of the theory and practice of religion. His 
native tongue was Persian ( q/amf), and he could not speak 
Arabic correctly. One evening Hasan of Basra passed by 
the door of his cell. Habib had uttered the call to prayer 
and was standing, engaged in devotion. Hasan came in, 
but would not pray under his leadership, because Habib was 
unable to speak Arabic fluently or recite the Koran correctly. 
The same night, Hasan dreamed that he saw God and said 
to Him : " O Lord, wherein does Thy good pleasure consist ? " 
and that God answered : " O Hasan, you found My good 
pleasure, but did not know its value : if yesternight you had 
said your prayers after Habib, and if the Tightness of his 
intention had restrained you from taking offence at his pro 
nunciation, I should have been well pleased with you." It is 
common knowledge among Sufis that when Hasan of Basra 
fled from Hajjaj he entered the cell of Habib. The soldiers 
came and said to Habib : " Have you seen Hasan anywhere ? " 
Habib said : " Yes." " Where is he ? " " He is in my cell." 
They went into the cell, but saw no one there. Thinking 
that Habib was making fun of them, they abused him and 
called him a liar. He swore that he had spoken the truth. 
They returned twice and thrice, but found no one, and at last 
departed. Hasan immediately came out and said to Habib : 


" I know it was owing to thy benedictions that God did not 
discover me to these wicked men, but why didst thou tell 
them I was here ? " Habib replied : " O Master, it was not on 
account of my benedictions that they failed to see thee, but 
through the blessedness of my speaking the truth. Had I told 
a lie, we both should have been shamed." Habib was asked : 
"With what thing is God pleased?" He answered: "With 
a heart which is not sullied by hypocrisy," because hypocrisy 
(nifdq) is the opposite of concord (wifdq), and the state of 
being well pleased (rida) is the essence of concord. There is 

no connexion between hypocrisy and love, and love subsists 
in the state of being well pleased (with whatever is decreed 
by God). Therefore acquiescence (rida) is a characteristic of 
God s friends, while hypocrisy is a characteristic of His enemies^ 

This is a very important matter. I will explain it in another 


He was a companion of Hasan of Basra. Dinar was a slave, 
and Malik was born before his father s emancipation. His con 
version began as follows. One evening he had been enjoying 
himself with a party of friends. When they were all asleep 
a voice came from a lute which they had been playing: 
" O Malik ! why dost thou not repent ?" Malik abandoned his 
evil ways and went to Hasan of Basra, and showed himself 
steadfast in repentance. He attained to such a high degree 
that once when he was in a ship, and was suspected of stealing 
a jewel, he no sooner lifted his eyes to heaven than all the 
fishes in the sea came to the surface, every one carrying a jewel 
in its mouth. Malik took one of the jewels, and gave it to 
the man whose jewel was missing ; then he set foot on the 
sea and walked until he reached the shore. It is related that 
he said : " The deed that I love best is sincerity in doing," 
because an action only becomes an action in virtue of its 
sincerity. Sincerity bears the same relation to an action as 
the spirit to the body : as the body without the spirit is 


a lifeless thing, so an action without sincerity is utterly un 
substantial. Sincerity belongs to the class of internal actions, 
whereas acts of devotion belong to the class of external actions : 
the latter are completed by the former, while the former derive 
their value from the latter. Although a man should keep his 
heart sincere for a thousand years, it is not sincerity until his 
sincerity is combined with action ; and although he should 
perform external actions for a thousand years, his actions do 
not become acts of devotion until they are combined with 


He was a companion of Salman Farisf. He related that 
the Apostle said : " The believer s intentions are better than 
his acts." He had flocks of sheep, and his home was on the 
bank of the Euphrates. His religious Path (tartq*) was retire 
ment from the world. A certain Shaykh relates as follows : 
" Once I passed by him and found him praying, while a wolf 
looked after his sheep. I resolved to pay him a visit, since he 
appeared to me to have the marks of greatness. When we had 
exchanged greetings, I said : * O Shaykh ! I see the wolf in 
accord with the sheep. He replied : * That is because the 
shepherd is in accord with God. With those words he held 
a wooden bowl under a rock, and two fountains gushed from 
the rock, one of milk and one of honey. ( O Shaykh ! I cried, 
as he bade me drink, how hast thou attained to this degree ? 
He answered : By obedience to Muhammad, the Apostle of 
God. O my son ! the rock gave water to the people of Moses, 2 
although they disobeyed him, and although Moses is not equal 
in rank to Muhammad : why should not the rock give milk 
and honey to me, inasmuch as I am obedient to Muhammad, 
who is superior to Moses? I said: Give me a word of 
counsel. He said : Do not make your heart a coffer of 
covetousness and your belly a vessel of unlawful things. " 

1 L. Aslam. 2 Kor. vii, 160. 


My Shaykh had farther traditions concerning him, but 
I could not possibly set down more than this (andar waqt-i man 
diqi btid ti bish az in mumkin na-shud\ my books having been 
left at Ghazna may God guard it! while I myself had 
become a captive among uncongenial folk (dar miydn-i ndjinsdri) 
in the district of Lahawur, which is a dependency of Multdn. 
God be praised both in joy and sorrow ! 


He was steadfast in poverty, arH thoroughly versed in 
different kinds of self-mortification. ._. u Uthman al- 
Makki, who shows great zeal on his behalf (andar amr-i way 
ba-jidd bdshad\ relates that on being asked what he possessed 
hejmswered : " Satisfaction (ridd) with God and independence 
of mankind." A certain Shaykh went to see him and found 
him asleep. When he awoke he said : " I dreamed just now 
that the Apostle gave me a message to thee, and bade me 
inform thee that it is better to fulfil the duty which is owed 
to one s mother than to make the pilgrimage. Return, there 
fore, and try to please her." The person who tells the story 
turned back and did not go to Mecca. This is all that I have 
heard about Abu Hazim. 


He associated with many of the Followers and with some 
of the ancient Shaykhs, and had a perfect knowledge of 
Sufiism. It is related that he said: "I never_saw anything 
without seeing God therein." This is an advanced stage 
(inaqdui) of Contemplation. When a man is overcome with 
love for the Agent, he attains to such a degree that in looking 
at His act he does not see the act but the Agent only and 
entirely, just as when one looks at a picture and sees only gypl- 
the painter^ The true meaning of these words is the same as 
in the saying of Abraham, the Friend of God (Khalil) and the >^ 
Apostle, who said to the sun and moon and stars : " This is my 
Lord" (Kor. vi, 76-8), for he was then overcome with longing 


(shcnvq\ so that the qualities of his beloved appeared to him 
in everything that he saw. The friends of God perceive that 
the universe is subject to His might and captive to His 
dominion, and that the existence of all created things is as 
nothing in comparison with the power of the Agent thereof. 
When they look thereon with longing, they do not see what 
is subject and passive and created, but only the Omnipotent, 
the Agent, the Creator. I shall treat of this in the chapter 
on Contemplation. Some persons have fallen into error, and 
have alleged that the words of Muhammad b. Wasi , " I saw 
God therein," involve a place of division and descent (makdn-i 
tajziya u /mliil}, which is sheer infidelity, because place is 
homogeneous with that which is contained in it, and if anyone 
supposes that place is created the contained object must also 
be created ; or if the latter be eternal the former also must 
be eternal : hence this assertion entails two evil consequences, 
both of which are infidelity, viz., either that created things are 
eternal (qadiui) or that the Creator is non-eternal (muhdatti). 
Accordingly, when Muhammad b. Wasi said that he saw God 
in things, he meant, as I have explained above, that he saw in 
those things the signs and evidences and proofs of God. 

I shall discuss in the proper place some subtle points con 
nected with this question. 

He is the Imam of Imams and the exemplar of the Sunnites. 
He was firmly grounded in works of mortification and devotion,, 
and was a great authority on the principles of Sufiism. At 
first he wished to go into seclusion and abandon the society of 
mankind, for he had made his heart free from every thought 
of human power and pomp. One night, however, he dreamed 
that he was collecting the bones of the Apostle from the tomb, 
and choosing some and discarding others. He awoke in terror 
and asked one of the pupils of Muhammad b. Sinn 1 (to interpret 

1 A well-known divine, who died in no A.H. See Ibn Khallikan, No. 576. An 
extant work on the interpretation of dreams is attributed to him (Brockelmann, i, 66). 


the dream). This man said to him : " You will attain a high 
rank in knowledge of the Apostle and in preserving his 
ordinances (sunnaf), so that you will sift what is genuine from 
what is spurious." Another time Abu Hanifa dreamed that 
the Apostle said to him : " You have been created for the 
purpose of reviving my ordinances." He was the master of 
many Shaykhs, e.g. Ibrahim b. Adham and Fudayl b. lyad 
and Dawud Ta i and Bishr Hafi. _ S^N 

In the reign of the Caliph Mansur a plan was formed to _ -~\> , ^ 
appoint to the office of Cadi one of the following persons : 
Abu Hanifa, Sufyan Thawri, Mis ar b. Kidam, and Shurayh. 
While they were journeying together to visit Mansur, who had 
summoned them to his presence, Abu Hanifa said to his 
companions : " I will reject this office by means of a certain 
trick" Mis ar will feign to be mad, Sufyan will run away, and 
Shurayh will be made Cadi." Sufyan fled and embarked in 
a ship, imploring the captain to conceal him and save him from 
execution. The others were ushered into the presence of the 
Caliph. Mansur said to Abu Hanifa : " You must act as Cadi." 
Abu Hanifa replied: " O Commander of the Faithful, I am not 
an Arab, but one of their clients ; and the chiefs of the Arabs 
will not accept my decisions." Mansur said : " This matter has 
nothing to do with lineage: it demands learning, and you are 
the most eminent doctor of the day." Abu Hanifa persisted 
that he was unfit to hold the office. "What I have just said 
shows it," he exclaimed ; " for if I have spoken the truth I am 
disqualified, and if I have told a falsehood it is not right that 
a liar should be judge over Moslems, and that you should 
entrust him with the lives, property, and honour of your 
subjects." He escaped in this way. Then Mis ar came forward 
and seized the Caliph s hand and said : " How are you, and 
your children, and your beasts of burden ? " "Away with him," 
cried Mansur, " he is mad ! " Finally, Shurayh was told that he 
must fill the vacant office. " I am melancholic," said he, " and 
light-witted," whereupon Mansur advised him to drink ptisanes 
and potions ( astdahd-yi muwdfiq ti nabidhhd-yi muthallatJi) 


until his intellect was fully restored. So Shurayh was made 
Cadi, and Abu Hanifa never spoke a word to him again. This 
story illustrates not only the sagacity of Abu Hanifa, but also 
his adherence to the path of righteousness and salvation, and 
his determination not to let himself be deluded by seeking 
popularity and worldly renown. It shows, moreover, the 
soundness of blame (inaldmat\ since all these three venerable 
men resorted to some trick in order to avoid popularity. Very 
different are the doctors of the present age, who make the 
palaces of princes their qibla and the houses of evildoers their 

Once a doctor of Ghazna, who claimed to be a learned divine 
and a religious leader, declared it heresy to wear a patched 
frock (muraqqota). I said to him : " You do not call it heretical 
to wear robes of brocade, 1 which are made entirely of silk and, 
besides being in themselves unlawful for men to wear, have been 
begged with importunity, which is unlawful, from evildoers 
whose property is absolutely unlawful. Why, then, is it heretical 
to wear a lawful garment, procured from a lawful place, and 
purchased with lawful money? If you were not ruled by inborn 
conceit and by the error of your soul, you would express a more 
judicious opinion. Women may wear a dress of silk lawfully, 
but it is unlawful for men, and only permissible (mubd/i) for 
lunatics. If you acknowledge the truth of both these state 
ments you are excused (for condemning the patched frock). 
God save us from lack of fairness ! " 

Yahya b. Mu adh al-Razi relates as follows : " I dreamed that 
I said to the Apostle, * O Apostle of God, where shall I seek 
thee ? He answered : * In the science of Abu Hanifa. " 

Once, when I was in Syria, I fell asleep at the tomb of Bilal 
the Muezzin, 2 and dreamed that I was at Mecca, and that the 
Apostle came in through the gate of the Banu Shayba, tenderly 

1 The text has jdma-i hashishi ri. dibaqi. Apparently the former word should be 
written " khashisht" . It is described in Vullers s Persian Dictionary as "a kind of 
garment ". 

2 Bilal b. Rabah, the Prophet s Muezzin, was buried at Damascus. 


clasping an old man to his bosom in the same fashion as people 
are wont to carry children ; and that I ran to him and kissed 
the back of his foot, and stood marvelling who the old man might 
be ; and that the Apostle was miraculously aware of my secret 
thought and said to me, "This is thy Imam and the Imam of 
thy countryman," meaning Abu Hanifa. In consequence of 
this dream I have great hopes for myself and also for the people 
of my country. It has convinced me, moreover, that Abu 
Hanifa was one of those who, having annihilated their natural 
qualities, continue to perform the ordinances of the sacred law, 
as appears from the fact that he was carried by the Apostle. 
If he had walked by himself, his attributes must have been 
subsistent, and such a one may either miss or hit the mark ; but 
inasmuch as he was carried by the Apostle, his attributes must 
have been non-existent while he was sustained by the living 
attributes of the Apostle. The Apostle cannot err, and it is 
equally impossible that one who is sustained by the Apostle 
should fall into error. 

When Dawud Ta i had acquired learning and become a famous 
authority, he went to Abu Hanifa and said to him : " What shall 
I do now?" Abu Hanifa replied: "Practise what you have 
learned, for theory without practice is like a body without a 
spirit." He who is content with learning alone is not learned, 
and the truly learned man is not content with learning alone. 

Similarly, Divine guidance (hiddyaf) involves self- mortification 
(inujdhadat\ without which contemplation (inushdhadaf) is un- 
attainable. There is no knowledge without action, since 
knowledge is the product of action, and is brought forth and 
developed and made profitable by the blessings of action. The 
two things cannot be divorced in any way, just as the light of 
the sun cannot be separated from the sun itself. 


He was the Imam of his time and consorted with many eminent 
Shaykhs. He is the author of celebrated works and famous 
miracles. The occasion of his conversion is related as follows : 


He was in love with a girl, and one night in winter he stationed 
himself at the foot of the wall of her house, while she came on to 
the roof, and they both stayed gazing at each other until day 
break. When Abdallah heard the call to morning prayers he 
thought it was time for evening prayers ; and only when the sun 
began to shine did he discover that he had spent the whole 
night in rapturous contemplation of his beloved. He took 
warning by this, and said to himself: " Shame on thee, O son of 
Mubarak ! Dost thou stand on foot all night for thine own 
pleasure, and yet become furious when the Imam reads a long 
chapter of the Koran ? " He repented and devoted himself to 
study, and entered upon a life of asceticism, in which he attained 
such a high degree that once his mother found him asleep in the 
garden, while a great snake was driving the gnats away from him 
with a spray of basil which it held in its mouth. Then he left 
Merv and lived for some time in Baghdad, associating with the 
Sufi Shaykhs, and also resided for some time at Mecca. When 
he returned to Merv, the people of the town received him with 
friendship and founded for him a professorial chair and a lecture 
hall (dars u majlis nihddand\ At that epoch half the popu 
lation of Merv were followers of Tradition and the other half 
adherents of Opinion, just as at the present day. They called 
him Radi al-fariqayn because of his agreement with both sides, 
and each party claimed him as one of themselves. He built two 
convents (ribdi) at Merv one for the followers of Tradition and 
one for the followers of Opinion which have retained their 
original constitution down to the present day. Afterwards he 
went back to the Hijaz and settled at Mecca. On being asked 
what wonders he had seen, he replied : " I saw a Christian monk 
(rdhib\ who was emaciated by self-mortification and bent double 
by fear of God. I asked him to tell me the way to God. He 
answered, If you knew God, you would know the way to Him. 
Then he said, I worship Him although I do not know him, 
whereas you disobey Him although you know Him/ i.e. know 
ledge entails fear, yet I see that you are confident ; and infidelity 
entails ignorance, yet I feel fear within myself. I laid this to 


heart, and it restrained me from many ill deeds." It is related 
that Abdallah b. Mubarak said : " Tranquillity is unlawful to 
the hearts of the Saints of God," for they are agitated in this 
world by seeking God (talab) and in the next world by rapture 
(tarab] ; they are not permitted to rest here, while they are 
absent from God, nor there, while they enjoy the presence, 
manifestation, and vision of God. Hence this world is even as 
the next world in their eyes, and the next world even as this 
world, because tranquillity of heart demands two things, either 
attainment of one s aim or indifference to the object of one s 
desire. Since He is not to be attained in this world or the next, 
the heart can never have rest from the palpitation of love ; and 
since indifference is unlawful to those who love Him, the heart 
can never have rest from the agitations of seeking Him. This 
is a firm principle in the path of spiritual adepts. 


He is one of the paupers (fa dlik) of the Sufis, and one of 
their most eminent and celebrated men. At first he used to 
practise brigandage between Merv and Baward, but he was 
always inclined to piety, and invariably showed a generous 
and magnanimous disposition, so that he would not attack 
a caravan in which there was any woman, or take the property 
of anyone whose stock was small ; and he let the travellers 
keep a portion of their property, according to the means of 
each. One day a merchant set out from Merv. His friends 
advised him to take an escort, but he said to them : " I have 
heard that Fudayl is a God-fearing man ;" and instead of doing 
as they wished he hired a Koran-reader and mounted him on 
a camel in order that he might read the Koran aloud day and 
night during the journey. When they reached the place where 
Fudayl was lying in ambush, the reader happened to be reciting: 
" Is not the time yet come unto those who believe, that their hearts 
should humbly submit to the admonition of God ? " (Kor. Ivii, 15). 
Fudayl s heart was softened. He repented of the business in 
which he was engaged, and having a written list of those whom 



he had robbed he satisfied all their claims upon him. Then he 
went to Mecca and resided there for some time and became 
acquainted with certain saints of God. Afterwards he returned 
to Kufa, where he associated with Abu Hanifa. He has handed 
down relations which are held in high esteem by Traditionists, 
and he is the author of lofty sayings concerning the verities of 
Sufiism and Divine Knowledge. It is recorded that he said : 
" Whoever knows God as He ought to be known worships Him 
with all his might," because everyone who knows God acknow 
ledges His bounty and beneficence and mercy, and therefore 
loves Him ; and since he loves Him he obeys Him so far as he 
has the power, for it is not difficult to obey those whom one 
loves. Accordingly, the more one loves, the more one is 
obedient, and love is increased by true knowledge. 1 It is related 
that he said : " The world is a madhouse, and the people 
therein are madmen, wearing shackles and chains." Lust is our 
shackle and sin is our chain. 

Fadl b. Rabi* relates as follows: "I accompanied Harun 
al-Rashid to Mecca. When we had performed the pilgrimage, 
he said to me, * Is there any man of God here that I may visit 
him ? I replied, < Yes, there is Abd al-Razzaq San amV 2 We 
went to his house and talked with him for a while. When we 
were about to leave, Harun bade me ask him whether he had 
any debts. He said, Yes, and Harun gave orders that they 
should be paid. On coming out, Harun said to me, O Fadl, 
my heart still desires to see a man greater than this one. 
I conducted him to Sufyan b. Uyayna. 3 Our visit ended in the 
same way. Harun gave orders to pay his debts and departed. 
Then he said to me, I recollect that Fudayl b. lyad is here ; 
let us go and see him. We found him in an upper chamber, 
reciting a verse of the Koran. When we knocked at the door, 
he cried, Who is there ? I replied, The Commander of the 
Faithful. What have I to do with the Commander of the 

1 Here the author relates two anecdotes illustrating the devotion of Muhammad. 

2 He died in 211 A.H. See Ibn Khallikan, No. 409. 

3 Died in 168 A.H. See Ibn Khallildn, No. 266. 


Faithful ? said he. I said, Is there not an Apostolic Tradition 
to the effect that no one shall seek to abase himself in devotion 
to God ? He answered, * Yes, but acquiescence in God s will 
(rida) is everlasting glory in the opinion of quietists : you see 
my abasement, but I see my exaltation. Then he came down 
and opened the door, and extinguished the lamp and stood 
in a corner. Harun went in and tried to find him. Their 
hands met. Fudayl exclaimed, * Alas ! never have I felt 
a softer hand : t will be very wonderful if it escape from 
the Divine torment. Harun began to weep, and wept so 
violently that he swooned. When he came to himself, he 
said, O Fudayl, give me a word of counsel. Fudayl said : 
( O Commander of the Faithful, thy ancestor ( Abbas) was the 
uncle of Mustafa. He asked the Prophet to give him dominion 
over men. The Prophet answered, " O my uncle, I will give thee 
dominion for one moment over thyself," i.e. one moment of thy 
obedience to God is better than a thousand years of men s 
obedience to thee, since dominion brings repentance on the 
Day of Resurrection (al-iuidrat yawm al-qiydmat naddmat}. 
Harun said, Counsel me further. Fudayl continued : When 
Umar b. Abd al- Aziz was appointed Caliph, he summoned 
Salim b. Abdallah and Rajd b. Hayat, and Muhammad b. 
Ka b al-Qurazi, and said to them, " What am I to do in this 
affliction ? for I count it an affliction, although people in general 
consider it to be a blessing." One of them replied: "If thou 
wouldst be saved to-morrow from the Divine punishment, 
regard the elders of the Moslems as thy fathers, and their young 
men as thy brothers, and their children as thy children. The 
whole territory of Islam is thy house, and its people are thy 
family. Visit thy father, and honour thy brother, and deal 
kindly with thy children." Then Fudayl said : O Commander 
of the Faithful, I fear lest that handsome face of thine fall into 
Hell-fire. Fear God, and perform thy obligations to Him better 
than this. Harun asked Fudayl whether he had any debts. 
He answered, Yes, the debt which I owe to God, namely, 
obedience to Him ; woe is me, if He call me to account for it ! > 


Harun said, * O Fudayl, I am speaking of debts to men. He 
replied, ( God be praised ! His bounty towards me is great, and 
I have no reason to complain of Him to His servants. Harun 
offered him a purse of a thousand dinars, saying, Use the 
money for some purpose of thine own. Fudayl said, O Com 
mander of the Faithful, my counsels have done thee no good. 
Here again thou art behaving wrongly and unjustly. 5 Harun 
exclaimed, How is that? Fudayl said, I wish thee to be 
saved, but thou wouldst cast me into perdition : is not this 
unjust? We took leave of him with tears in our eyes, and 
Harun said to me, O Fadl, Fudayl is a king indeed. " 

All this shows his hatred of the world and its people, and 
his contempt for its gauds, and his refusal to abase himself 
before worldlings for the sake of worldly gain. 


He was the son of a Nubian, and his name was Thawban. 
He is one of the best of this sect, and one of the most eminent 
of their hidden spiritualists ( ( ayydrdri), for he trod the path of 
afBiction and travelled on the road of blame (maldmaf). All 
the people of Egypt were lost in doubt as to his true state, 
and did not believe in him until he was dead. On the night 
of his decease seventy persons dreamed that they saw the 
Apostle, who said : " I have come to meet Dhu 1-Nun, the 
friend of God." And after his death the following words were 
found inscribed on his forehead : This is the beloved of God, 
who died in love of God, slain by God. At his funeral the birds 
of the air gathered above his bier, and wove their wings together 
so as to shadow it. On seeing this, all the Egyptians felt 
remorse and repented of the injustice which they had done 
to him. He has many fine and admirable sayings on the 
verities of mystical knowledge. He says, for example : " The 
gnostic ( l drif} is more lowly every day, because he is 
approaching nearer to his Lord every moment," inasmuch 
as he thereby becomes aware of the awfulness of the Divine 
Omnipotence, and when the majesty of God has taken possession 


of his heart, he sees how far he is from God and that there is 
no way of reaching Him ; hence his lowliness is increased. 
Thus Moses said, when he conversed with God : " O Lord, 
where shall I seek Thee ? " God answered : " Among those 
whose hearts are broken." Moses said : " O Lord, no heart 
fs more broken and despairing than mine." God answered : 
" Then I am where thou art." Accordingly, anyone who 
pretends to know God without lowliness and fear is an ignorant 
fool, not a gnostic. The sign of true knowledge is sincerity 
of will, and a sincere will cuts off all secondary causes and 
severs all ties of relationship, so that nothing remains except 
God. Dhu 1-Nun says : " Sincerity (sidq) is the sword of 
God on the earth : it cuts everything that it touches." Now 
sincerity regards the Causer, and does not consist in affirmation 
of secondary causes. To affirm the latter is to destroy the 
principle of sincerity. 

Among the stories told of Dhu 1-Nun I have read that one 
day he was sailing with his disciples in a boat on the River 
Nile, as is the custom of the people of Egypt when they desire 
recreation. Another boat was coming up, filled with merry 
makers, whose unseemly behaviour so disgusted the disciples 
that they begged Dhu 1-Nun to implore God to sink the boat. 
Dhu 1-Nun raised his hands and cried : " O Lord, as Thou 
hast given these people a pleasant life in this world, give them 
a pleasant life in the next world too ! " The disciples were 
astonished by his prayer. When the boat came nearer and 
those in it saw Dhu 1-Nun, they began to weep and ask 
pardon, and broke their lutes and repented unto God. Dhu 1- 
Nun said to his disciples : " A pleasant life in the next world 
is repentance in this world. You and they are all satisfied 
without harm to anyone." He acted thus from his extreme 
affection towards the Moslems, following the example of the 
Apostle, who, notwithstanding the ill - treatment which he 
received from the infidels, never ceased to say : " O God ! direct 
my people, for they know not." Dhu 1-Nun relates that as 
he was journeying from Jerusalem to Egypt he saw in the 


distance some one advancing towards him, and felt impelled 
to ask a question. When the person came near he perceived 
that it was an old woman carrying a staff (fukkdza 1 ), and 
wearing a woollen tunic (jubbd). He asked her whence she 
came. She answered : " From God." " And whither goest 
thou?" "To God." Dhu 1-Nun drew forth a piece of gold 
which he had with him and offered it to her, but she shook 
her hand in his face and cried : " O Dhu 1-Nun, the notion 
which thou hast formed of me arises from the feebleness of 
thy intelligence. I work for God s sake, and accept nothing 
unless from Him. I worship Him alone and take from Him 
alone." With these words she went on her way. 

The old woman s saying that she worked for God s sake is 
a proof of her sincerity in love. Men in their dealings with 
God fall into two classes. Some imagine that they work for 
God s sake when they are really working for themselves ; and 
though their work is not done with any worldly motive, they 
desire a recompense in the next world. Others take no thought 
of reward or punishment in the next world, any more than of 
ostentation and reputation in this world, but act solely from 
reverence for the commandments of God. Their love of God 
requires them to forget every selfish interest while they do His 
bidding. The former class fancy that what they do for the sake 
of the next world they do for God s sake, and fail to recognize 
that the devout have a greater self-interest in devotion than the 
wicked have in sin, because the sinner s pleasure lasts only for 
a moment, whereas devotion is a delight for ever. Besides, 
what gain accrues to God from the religious exercises of man 
kind, or what loss from their non-performance? If all the 
world acted with the veracity of Abu Bakr, the gain would be 
wholly theirs, and if with the falsehood of Pharaoh, the loss 
would be wholly theirs, as God hath said : " If ye do good, it is to 
yourselves, and if ye do evil, it is to yourselves" (Kor. xvii, 7); 
and also : " Whoever exerts himself [in religion] does so for his 

1 According to a marginal gloss in I, ukkiiza is a tripod on which a leathern 
water-bottle is suspended. 


own advantage. Verily, God is independent of created beings " 
(Kor. xxix, 5). They seek for themselves an everlasting 
kingdom and say, "We are working for God s sake"; but to 
tread the path of love is a different thing. Lovers, in fulfilling 
the Divine commandment, regard only the accomplishment of 
the Beloved s will, and have no eyes for anything else. 

A similar topic will be discussed in the chapter on Sincerity 

He was unique in his Path, and the chief of his contemporaries. 
He was a disciple of the Apostle Khidr. He met a large 
number of the ancient Sufi Shaykhs, and associated with the 
Imam Abu Hanffa, from whom he learned divinity ( *//). In 
the earlier part of his life he was Prince of Balkh. One day he 
went to the chase, and having become separated from his suite 
was pursuing an antelope. God caused the antelope to address 
him in elegant language and say : " Wast thou created for this, 
or wast thou commanded to do this ? " He repented, abandoned 
everything, and entered on the path of asceticism and abstinence. 
He made the acquaintance of Fudayl b. lyad and Sufyan 
Thavvrf, and consorted with them. After his conversion he 
never ate any food except what he had earned by his own 
labour. His sayings on the verities of Sufiism are original and 
exquisite. Junayd said : " Ibrahim is the key of the (mystical) 
sciences." It is related that he said: "Take God as thy 
companion and leave mankind alone," i.e. when anyone is 
rightly and sincerely turned towards God, the Tightness of his 
turning towards God requires that he should turn his back on 
mankind, inasmuch as the society of mankind has nothing to do 
with thoughts of God. Companionship with God is sincerity in 
fulfilling His commands, and sincerity in devotion springs from 
purity of love, and pure love of God proceeds from hatred of 
passion and lust. Whoever is familiar with sensual affections is 
separated from God, and whoever is separated from sensual 
affections is dwelling with God. Therefore thou art all mankind 


in regard to thyself: turn away from thyself, and thou hast 
turned away from all mankind. Thou dost wrong to turn away 
from mankind and towards thyself, and to be concerned with 
thyself, whereas the actions of all mankind are determined by 
the providence and predestination of God. The outward and 
inward rectitude (istiqdmaf) of the seeker is founded on two 
things, one of which is theoretical and the other practical. The 
former consists in regarding all good and evil as predestined 
by God, so that nothing in the universe passes into a state of 
rest or motion until God has created rest or motion in that 
thing ; the latter consists in performing the command of God, in 
Tightness of action towards Him, and in keeping the obligations 
which he Has imposed. Predestination can never become an 
argument for neglecting His commands. True renunciation of 
mankind is impossible until thou hast renounced thyself. As 
soon as thou hast renounced thyself, all mankind are necessary 
for the fulfilment of the will of God ; and as soon as thou hast 
turned to God, thou art necessary for the accomplishment of 
the decree of God. Hence it is not permissible to be satisfied 
with mankind. If thou wilt be satisfied with anything except 
God, at least be satisfied with another (ghayr\ for satisfaction 
with another is to regard unification (tawhid), whereas satisfaction 
with thyself is to affirm the nullity of the Creator (ta til). For 
this reason Shaykh Abu 1-Hasan Saliba * used to say that it is 
better for novices to be under the authority of a cat than under 
their own authority, because companionship with another is for 
God s sake, while companionship with one s self is calculated 
to foster the sensual affections. This topic will be discussed in 
the proper place. Ibrahim b. Adham tells the following story : 
" When I reached the desert, an old man came up and said to 
me, O Ibrahim, do you know what place this is, and where you 
are journeying without provisions and on foot ? I knew that 
he was Satan. I produced from the bosom of my shirt four 
ddniqs the price of a basket which I had sold in Kufa and 
cast them away and made a vow that I would perform a prayer 

1 See Nafahdt, No. 347, where he is called Abu 1-Husayn Saliba. 


of four hundred genuflexions for every mile that I travelled. 
I remained four years in the desert, and God was giving me 
my daily bread without any exertion on my part. During that 
time Khidr consorted with me and taught me the Great Name 
of God. Then my heart became wholly empty of * other 


He associated with Fudayl and was the disciple of his own 
maternal uncle, AH b. Khashram. He was versed in the 
principal, as well as the derivative, sciences. His conversion 
began as follows. One day, when he was drunk, he found on 
the road a piece of paper on which was written : " In the name 
of God) the Compassionate^ the Merciful" He picked it up with 
reverence, perfumed it, and laid in a clean place. The same 
night he dreamed that God said to him : " O Bishr, as thou hast 
made My name sweet, I swear by My glory that I will make 
thy name sweet both in this world and the next." Thereupon 
he repented and took to asceticism. So intensely was he 
absorbed in contemplation of God that he never put anything 
on his feet. When he was asked the reason of this, he said : 
" The Earth is His carpet, and I deem it wrong to tread on His 
carpet while there is anything between my foot and His carpet." 
This is one of his peculiar practices : in the concentration of his 
mind on God a shoe seemed to him a veil (between him and 
God). It is related that he said : " Whoever desires to be 
honoured in this world and exalted in the next world, let him 
shun three things : let him not ask a boon of anyone, nor speak 
ill of anyone, nor accept an invitation to eat with anyone." No 
man who knows the way to God will ask a boon of human 
beings, since to do so is a proof of his ignorance of God : if he 
knew the Giver of all boons, he would not ask a boon from 
a fellow-creature. Again, the man who speaks ill of anyone is 
criticizing the decree of God, inasmuch as both the individual 
himself and his actions are created by God ; and on whom can 
the blame for an action be thrown except on the agent ? This 


does not apply, however, to the blame which God has com 
manded us to bestow upon infidels. Thirdly, as to his saying, 
"Do not eat of men s food," the reason is that God is the 
Provider. If He makes a creature the means of giving you 
daily bread, do not regard that creature, but consider that the 
daily bread which God has caused to come to you does not 
belong to him but to God. If he thinks that it is his, and that 
he is thereby conferring a favour on you, do not accept it. In 
the matter of daily bread one person does not confer on another 
any favour at all, because, according to the opinion of the 
orthodox, daily bread is food (ghidhd), although the Mu tazilites 
hold it to be property (milk) ; and God, not any created being, 
nourishes mankind with food. This saying may be explained 
otherwise, if it be taken in a profane sense (majdz). 


He is the greatest of the Shaykhs in state and dignity, so that 
Junayd said : " Abu Yazi d holds the same rank among us as 
Gabriel among the angels." His grandfather was a Magian, and 
his father was one of the notables of Bistam. He is the author 
of many trustworthy relations concerning the Traditions of the 
Apostle, and he is one of the ten celebrated Imams of Sufiism. 
No one before him penetrated so deeply into the arcana of this 
science. In all circumstances he was a lover of theology and 
a venerator of the sacred law, notwithstanding the spurious 
doctrine which has been foisted on him by some persons with the 
object of supporting their own heresies. From the first, his life 
was based on self-mortification and the practice of devotion. It 
rs recorded that he said : " For thirty years I was active in self- 
mortification, and I found nothing harder than to learn divinity 
and follow its precepts. But for the disagreement of divines 
I should have utterly failed in my endeavour. The disagreement 
of divines is a mercy save on the point of Unification." This is 
true indeed, for human nature is more prone to ignorance than 
to knowledge, and while many things can be done easily with 


ignorance, not a single step can be made easily with know 
ledge, The bridge of the sacred law is much narrower and 
more dangerous than the Bridge (Sirdf) in the next world. 
Therefore it behoves thee so to act in all circumstances that, 
if thou shouldst not attain a high degree and an eminent 
station, thou mayst at any rate fall within the pale of 
the sacred law. Even if thou lose all else, thy practices of 
devotion will remain with thee. Neglect of those is the worst 
mischief that can happen to a novice. 

It is related that Abu Yazid said : " Paradise hath no value in 
the eyes of lovers, and lovers are veiled (from God) by their 
love," i.e. Paradise is created, whereas love is an uncreated 
attribute of God. Whoever is detained by a created thing from 
that which is uncreated, is without worth and value. Created 
things are worthless in the eyes of lovers. Lovers are veiled 
by love, because the existence of love involves duality, which 
is incompatible with unification (tawhid). The way of lovers is 
from oneness to oneness, but there is in love this defect, that it 
needs a desirer (inurid] and an object of desire (murdd). Either 
God must be the desirer and Man the desired, or vice versa. In 
the former case, Man s being is fixed in God s desire, but if Man 
is the desirer and God the object of desire, the creature s search 
and desire can find no way unto Him : in either case the canker 
of being remains in the lover. Accordingly, the annihilation of 
the lover in the everlastingness of love is more perfect than his 
subsistence through the everlastingness of love. 

It is related that Abu Yazid said : " I went to Mecca and saw 
a House standing apart. I said, My pilgrimage is not accepted, 
for I have seen many stones of this sort. I went again, and saw 
the House and also the Lord of the House. I said, This is not 
yet real unification. I went a third time, and saw only the Lord 
of the House. A voice in my heart whispered, O Bdyazid, if 
thou didst not see thyself, thou wouldst not be a polytheist 
(inushrik] though thou sawest the whole universe ; and since 
thou seest thyself, thou art a polytheist though blind to the 
whole universe. Thereupon I repented, and once more 


I repented of my repentance, and yet once more I repented of 
seeing my own existence." 

This is a subtle tale concerning the soundness of his state, and 
gives an excellent indication to spiritualists. 


He was learned in the principal and derivative sciences, and 
his authority was recognized by all the theologians of his day. 
He wrote a book, entitled Ri dyat? on the principles of Sufiism, 
as well as many other works. In every branch of learning he 
was a man of lofty sentiment and noble mind. He was the 
chief Shaykh of Baghdad in his time. It is related that he said : 
A I- 1 tint bi-karakdt al-quhib fi mutdlcfat al-ghuyiib ashraf min 
al- amal bi-karakdt al-jawdrih, i.e. he who is acquainted with 
the secret motions of the heart is better than he who acts with 
the motions of the limbs. The meaning .is that knowledge 
is the place of perfection, whereas ignorance is the place 
of search, and knowledge at the shrine is better than 
ignorance at the door : knowledge brings a man to perfection, 
but ignorance does not even allow him to enter (on the way 
to perfection). In reality knowledge is greater than action, 
because it is possible to know God by means of knowledge, but 
impossible to attain to Him by means of action. If He could 
be found by action without knowledge, the Christians and the 
monks in their austerities would behold Him face to face and 
sinful believers would have no vision of Him. Therefore know 
ledge is a Divine attribute and action a human attribute. Some 
relaters of this saying have fallen into error by reading al- amal 
bi-harakdt al-qulub? which is absurd, since human actions have 
nothing to do with the motions of the heart. If the author 
uses this expression to denote reflection and contemplation of 
the inward feelings, it is not strange, for the Apostle said : 
" A moment s reflection is better than sixty years of devotion," 

1 Its full title is Rfdyat li-huqiiq Allah, " The observance of what is due to God." 

2 This reading is given in the Tabaqdt al-&ifiyya of Abu Abd al-Rahman 
al-Sulami (British Museum MS., Add. 18,520. f. 13^-). 


and spiritual actions are in truth more excellent than bodily 
actions, and the effect produced by inward feelings and actions 
is really more complete than the effect produced by outward 
actions. Hence it is said : " The sleep of the sage is an act of 
devotion and the wakefulness of the fool is a sin," because the 
sage s heart is controlled (by God) whether he sleeps or wakes, 
and when the heart is controlled the body also is controlled. 
Accordingly, the heart that is controlled by the sway of God is 
better than the sensual part of Man which controls his outward 
motions and acts of self-mortification. I tjsjrelated that Harith 
said one day to a dervish, Kun lilldh wa-illd Id takun^ " Be God s 
or be nothing," i.e. either be subsistent through God or perish 
to thine own j?xisten_ce ; either be united with Purity (safivat) 
or separated by Poverty (faqr) ; either in the state described by 
the words " Bow ye down to Adam" (Kor. ii, 32) or in the state 
described by the words " Did there not come over Man a time 
when he was not anything worthy of mention?" (Kor. Ixxvi, i). 
If thou wilt give thyself to God of thy own free choice, thy 
resurrection will be through thyself, but if thou wilt not, then 
thy resurrection will be through God. 


He was a pupil of Abu Hanifa and a contemporary of 
Fudayl and Ibrahim b. Adham. In Sufiism he was a disciple 
of Habi b Ra i. He was deeply versed in all the sciences and 
unrivalled in jurisprudence (fiqlt) ; but he went into seclusion 
and turned his back on authority, and took the path of 
asceticism and piety. It is related that he said to one of his 
disciples : " If thou desirest welfare, bid farewell to this world, 
and if thou desirest grace (kardmat\ pronounce the takbir 1 over 
the next world," i.e. both these are places of veiling (places 
which prevent thee from seeing God). Every kind of tranquillity 
(fardghat) depends on these two counsels. Whoever would be 

1 The takbir, i.e. the words Allah akbar, "God is most great," is prone 
times in Moslem funeral prayers. 


tranquil in body, let him turn his back on this world ; and who 
ever would be tranquil in heart, let him clear his heart of all 
desire for the next world. It is a well-known story that Dawud 
used constantly to associate with Muhammad b. al-Hasan, 1 but 
would never receive the Cadi Abu Yusuf. On being asked why 
he honoured one of these eminent divines but refused to admit 
the other to his presence, he replied that Muhammad b. al- 
Hasan had become a theologian after being rich and wealthy, 
and theology was the cause of his religious advancement and 
worldly abasement, whereas Abu Yusuf had become a theologian 
after being poor and despised, and had made theology the 
means of gaining wealth and power. It is related that Ma ruf 
Karkhi said : " I never saw anyone who held worldly goods in 
less account than Dawud Ta i ; the world and its people had no 
value whatsoever in his eyes, and he used to regard dervishes 
(fuqard) as perfect although they were corrupt." 

He was the maternal uncle of Junayd. He was well versed 
in all the sciences and eminent in Sufiism, and he_was the first 
of those who have devoted their attention to the arrangement 
of "stations" (j-naqdmdf) and to the explanation of spiritual 
" states " \ahwdt). Most of the Shaykhs of Iraq are his pupils. 
He had seen Habib Ra f and associated with him. He was 
a disciple of Ma ruf Karkhi. He used to carry on the business 
of a huckster (saqat-firusli) in the bazaar at Baghdad. When 
the bazaar caught fire, he was told that his shop was burnt. 
He replied: "Then I am freed from the care of it." Afterwards 
it was discovered that his shop had not been burnt, although 
all the shops surrounding it were destroyed. On seeing this, 
Sari gave all that he possessed to the poor and took the 
path of Sufiism. He was asked how the change in him began. 
He answered : " One day Habib Ra i passed my shop, and 
I gave him a crust of bread, telling him to give it to the poor. 

1 Muhammad b. al-Hasan and Abu Yusuf were celebrated lawyers of the Hanafite 
school. See Brockelmann, i, 171. 


He said to me, May God reward thee ! From the day when 
I heard this prayer my worldly affairs never prospered again." 
It is related that Sari said : " O God, whatever punishment 
Thou mayst inflict upon me, do not punish me with the 
humiliation of being veiled from Thee," because, if I am not 
veiled from Thee, my torment and affliction will be lightened 
by the remembrance and contemplation of Thee ; but if I am 
veiled from Thee, even Thy bounty will be deadly to me. 
There is no punishment in Hell more painful and hard to bear 
than that of being veiled. If God were revealed in Hell to the 
people of Hell, sinful believers would never think of Paradise, 
since the sight of God would so fill them with joy that they 
would not feel bodily pain. And in Paradise there is no 
pleasure more perfect than unveiledness (kashf\ If the people 
there enjoyed all the pleasures of that place and other pleasures 
a hundredfold, but were veiled from God, their hearts would be 
utterly broken. Therefore it is the custom of God to let the 
hearts of those who love Him have vision of Him always, in 
order that the delight thereof may enable them to endure every 
tribulation ; and they say in their orisons : " We deem all 
torments more desirable than to be veiled from Thee. When 
Thy beauty is revealed to our hearts, we take no thought of 

He was versed in all the sciences legal, practical, and 
theoretical and composed many works on various branches 
of Sufiism. He consorted with Ibrahim b. Adham and many 
other Shaykhs. It is related that he said : " God hath made 
the pious living in their death, and hath made the wicked dead 
during their lives," i.e., the pious, though they be dead, yet live, 
since the angels utter blessings on their piety until they are 
made immortal by the recompense which they receive at the 
Resurrection. Hence, in the annihilation wrought by death 
they subsist through the everlastingness of retribution. Once 
an old man came to Shaqi q and said to him : " O Shaykh, 


I have sinned much and now wish to repent." Shaqi q said : 
" Thou hast come late." The old man answered : " No, I have 
come soon. Whoever comes before he is dead comes soon, 
though he may have been long in coming." It is said that 
the occasion of Shaqiq s conversion was this, that one year 
there was a famine at Balkh, and the people were eating one 
another s flesh. While all the Moslems were bitterly distressed, 
Shaqi q saw a youth laughing and making merry in the bazaar. 
The people said: "Why do you laugh? Are not you ashamed 
to rejoice when everyone else is mourning ? " The youth said : 
" I have no sorrow. I am the servant of a man who owns 
a village as his private property, and he has relieved me of all 
care for my livelihood." Shaqi q exclaimed : " O Lord God, 
this youth rejoices so much in having a master who owns 
a single village, but Thou art the King of kings, and Thou 
hast promised to give us our daily bread ; and nevertheless 
we have filled our hearts with all this sorrow because we are 
engrossed with worldly things." He turned to God and began 
to walk in the way of the Truth, and never troubled himself 
again about his daily bread. Afterwards he used to say : "I am 
the pupil of a youth; all that I have learned I learned from 
him." His humility led him to say this. 

He was held in honour by the Sufi s and was (called) the 
sweet basil of hearts (raykdn-i dilhd). He is distinguished by 
his severe austerities and acts of self-mortification. He was 
versed in the science of "time" ( l ilm-i waqt) * and in knowledge 
of the cankers of the soul, and had a keen eye for its hidden 
snares. He spoke in subtle terms concerning the practice of 
devotion, and the watch that should be kept over the heart and 
the limbs. It is related that he said : " When hope predominates 
over fear, one s time is spoilt," because " time" is the preservation 
of one s " state " (Jidl\ which is preserved only so long as one is 
possessed by fear. If, on the other hand, fear predominates 

1 See note on p. 13. 


over hope, belief in Unity (tawhid) is lost, inasmuch as excessive 
fear springs from despair, and despair of God is polytheism 
(shirk). Accordingly, the maintenance of belief in Unity con 
sists in right hope, and the maintenance of " time " in right fear, 
and both are maintained when hope and fear are equal. Main 
tenance of belief in Unity makes one a believer (mu min), 
while maintenance of "time" makes one pious (mutt ). Hope 
is connected entirely with contemplation (inushdhadat\ in 
which is involved a firm conviction (i tiqdd) ; and fear is con 
nected entirely with purgation (mujdhadat), in which is involved 
an anxious uncertainty (idtirdb"). Contemplation is the fruit of 
purgation, or, to express the same idea differently, every hope 
is produced by despair. Whenever a man, on account of his 
actions, despairs of his future welfare, that despair shows him 
the way to salvation and welfare and Divine mercy, and opens 
to him the door of gladness, and clears away sensual corruptions 
from his heart, and reveals to it the Divine mysteries. 

Ahmad b. Abi 1-Hawari relates that one night, when he was 
praying in private, he felt great pleasure. Next day he told 
Abu Sulayman, who replied : " Thou art a weak man, for thou 
still hast mankind in view, so that thou art one thing in private 
and another in public." There is nothing in the two worlds 
that is sufficiently important to hold man back from God. 
When a bride is unveiled to the people, the reason is that 
everyone may see her and that she may be honoured the more 
through being seen, but it is not proper that she should see 
anyone except the bridegroom, since she is disgraced by seeing 
anyone else. If all mankind should see the glory of a pious 
man s piety, he would suffer no harm, but if he sees the 
excellence of his own piety he is lost. 


He is one of the ancient and principal Shaykhs, and was famed 

for his generosity and devoutness. This notice of him should 

have come earlier in the book, but I have placed it here in 

accordance with two venerable persons who wrote before me, 



one of them a relater of traditions and the other an independent 
authority (sahib tasarruf) I mean Shaykh Abu Abd al-Rahman 
al-Sulamf, who in his work adopts the arrangement which 
I have followed, and the Master and Imdm Abu 1-Qasimal- 
Qushayri, who has put the notice of Ma ruf in the same order 
in the introductory portion of his book. 1 I have chosen this 
arrangement because Ma ruf was the master of Sari Saqati and 
the disciple of Dawud Ta i. At first Ma ruf was a non-Moslem 
(begdna), but he made profession of Islam to All b. Musd 
al-Rida, who held him in the highest esteem. It is related that 
he said : " There are three signs of generosity to keep faith 
without resistance, to praise without being incited thereto by 
liberality, and to give without being asked." In men all these 
qualities are merely borrowed, and in reality they belong to 
God, who acts thus towards His servants. God keeps unresisting 
faith with those who love Him, and although they show 
resistance in keeping faith with Him, He only increases His 
kindness towards them. The sign of God s keeping faith is 
this, that in eternity past He called His servant to His presence 
without any good action on the part of His servant, and that 
to-day He does not banish His servant on account of an evil 
action. He alone praises without the incitement of liberality, 
for He has no need of His servant s actions, and nevertheless 
extols him for a little thing that he has done. He alone gives 
without being asked, for He is generous and knows the state 
of everyone and fulfils his desire unasked. Accordingly, when 
God gives a man grace and makes him noble, and distinguishes 
him by His favour, and acts towards him in the three ways 
mentioned above, and when that man, as far as lies in his 

1 This statement is not accurate. The notice of Ma ruf Karkhi is the fourth in 
Qushayri s list of biographies at the beginning of his treatise on Sufiism, and stands 
between the notices of Fudayl b. lyad and Sari Saqati. In the Tabaqdt al-Sufiyya, 
by Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami, the notice of Ma ruf comes tenth in order, but 
occupies the same position as it does here in so far as it is preceded by the article on 
Abu Sulayman Darani and is followed by the article on Hatim al-Asamm. It 
appears from the next sentence that al-Hujwiri intended to place the life of Ma ruf 
between those of Dawud Ta i and Sari Saqati (Nos. 14 and 15), but neither of the 
two above-mentioned authorities has adopted this arrangement. 


power, acts in the same way towards his fellow-creatures, then 
he is called generous and gets a reputation for generosity. 
Abraham the Apostle possessed these three qualities in very 
truth, as I shall explain in the proper place. 


He was one of the great men of Balkh and one of the ancient 
Shaykhs of Khurasan, a disciple of Shaqi q and the teacher of 
Ahmad Khadruya. In all his circumstances, from beginning 
to end, he never once acted untruthfully, so that Junayd said : 
" Hatim al-Asamm is the veracious one (siddiq) of our time." 
He has lofty sayings on the subtleties of discerning the cankers 
of the soul and the weaknesses of human nature, and is the author 
of famous works on ethics (^ilm-i mu dmaldt). Itjs related that 
he said: "Lust is of three kinds lust in eating, lust in speaking, 
and lust in looking. Guard thy food by trust in God, thy tongue 
by telling the truth, and thine eye by taking example (^ibraf}" 
Real trust in God proceeds from right knowledge, for those who 
know Him aright have confidence that He will give them their 
daily bread, and they speak and look with right knowledge, so 
that their food and drink is only love, and their speech is only 
ecstasy, and their looking is only contemplation. Accordingly, 
when they know aright they eat what is lawful, and when they 
speak aright they utter praise (of God), and when they look 
aright they behold Him, because no food is lawful except what 
He has given and permits to be eaten, and no praise is rightly 
offered to anyone in the eighteen thousand worlds excerjt to 
Him, and it is not allowable to look on anything in the universe 
except His beauty and majesty. It is not lust when thou 
receivest food from Him and eatest by His leave, or when thou 
speakest of Him by His leave, or when thou seest His actions 
by His leave. On the other hand, it is lust when of thy own 
will thou eatest even lawful food, or of thy own will thou 
speakest even praise of Him, or of thy own will thou lookest 
even for the purpose of seeking guidance. 

1 LIJ. have ^Ijie. 



While he was at Medina he was a pupil of the Imam Malik, 
and when he came to Iraq he associated with Muhammad 
b. al-Hasan. He always had a natural desire for seclusion, and 
used to seek an intimate comprehension of this way of life, 
until a party gathered round him and followed his authority. 
One of them was Ahmad b. Hanbal. Then Shafi i became 
occupied with seeking position and exercising his authority as 
Imam, and was unable to retire from the world. At first he 
was not favourably disposed towards aspirants to Sufiism, but 
after seeing Sulayman Ra/i and obtaining admission to his 
society, he continued to seek the truth wherever he went. It is 
related that he said : " When you see a divine busying himself 
with indulgences (rukhas\ no good thing will come from him," 
i.e. divines are the leaders of all classes of men, and no one may 
take precedence of them in any matter, and the way of God 
cannot be traversed without precaution and the utmost self- 
mortification, and to seek indulgences in divinity is the act of 
one who flees from self-mortification and prefers an alleviation 
for himself. Ordinary people seek indulgences to keep them 
selves within the pale of the sacred law, but the elect practise 
self-mortification to feel the fruit thereof in their hearts. Divines 
are among the elect, and when one of them is satisfied with 
behaving like ordinary people, nothing good will come from 
him. Moreover, to seek indulgences is to think lightly of God s 
commandment, and divines love God : a lover does not think 
lightly of the command of his beloved. 

A certain Shaykh relates that one night he dreamed of the 
Prophet and said to him : " O Apostle of God, a tradition has 
come down to me from thee that God hath upon the earth 
saints of diverse rank (awtdd il awliyd ti abrdr)" The Apostle 
said that the relater of the tradition had transmitted it correctly, 
and in answer to the Shaykh s request that he might see one 
of these holy men, he said : " Muhammad b. Idris is one 
of them." 




He was distinguished by devoutness and piety, and was the 
guardian of the Traditions of the Apostle. Sufis of all sects 
regard him as blessed. He associated with great Shaykhs, 
such as Dhu 1-Nun of Egypt, Bishr al-Hafi, Sari al-Saqati, 
Ma ruf al-Karkh/, and others. His miracles were manifest and 
his intelligence sound. The doctrines attributed to him to-day 
by certain Anthropomorphists are inventions and forgeries ; he 
is to be acquitted of all notions of that sort. He had a firm 
belief in the principles of religion, and his creed was approved 
by all the divines. When the Mu tazilites came into power at 
Baghdad, they wished to extort from him a confession that the 
Koran was created, and though he was a feeble old man they 
put him to the rack and gave him a thousand lashes. In spite 
of all this he would not say that the Koran was created. While 
he was undergoing punishment his izdr became untied. His 
own hands were fettered, but another hand appeared and tied it. 
Seeing this evidence, they let him go. He died, however, of the 
wounds inflicted on that occasion. Shortly before his death 
some persons visited him and asked what he had to say about 
those who flogged him. He answered : " What should I have 
to say ? They flogged me for God s sake, thinking that I was 
wrong and that they were right. I will not claim redress from 
them at the Resurrection for mere blows." He is the author of 
lofty sayings on ethics. When questioned on any point relating 
to practice he used to answer the question himself, but if it 
was a point of mystical theory (Jiaqd iq] he would refer the 
questioner to Bishr HaTi. One day a man asked him : " What 
is sincerity (ikhlds] ? " He replied : " To escape from the 
cankers of one s actions^Te. let thy actions be free from 
^ostentation and hypocrisy and self-interest, The questioner 
then asked: "What is trust (tawakkul)^ " Ahmad replied: 
" Confidence in God, that He will provide thy daily bread." 
The man asked : " What is acquiescence (ridd)t" He replied : 
" To commit thy affairs to God." " And what is love 
(mahabbaf)?" Ahmad said: "Ask this question of Bishr 




Hdfi, for I will not answer it while he is alive." Ahmad b. 
Hanbal was constantly exposed to persecution : during his life 
by the attacks of the Mu tazilites, and after his death by the 
suspicion of sharing the views of the Anthropomorphists. 
Consequently the orthodox Moslems are ignorant of his true 
state and hold him suspect. But he is clear of all that is 
alleged against him. 

He was one of the most eminent of the Syrian Shaykhs and 
is praised by all the leading Sufis. Junayd said : " Ahmad 
b. Abi 1-Hawari is the sweet basil of Syria (rayhdnat al-Sham)" 
He was the pupil of Abu Sulayman Daram, and associated 
with Sufyan b. Uyayna and Marwan b. Mu awiya the Koran- 
reader (al-Qdri)> He had been a wandering devotee (sayydti). 
It is related that he said: " This world is a dunghill and a 
place where dogs gather ; and one who lingers there is less than 
a dog, for a dog takes what he wants from it and goes, but the 
lover of the world never departs from it or leaves it at any 
time." At first he was a student and attained the rank of the 
Imams, but afterwards he threw all his books into the sea, and 
said: "Ye were excellent guides, but it is impossible to occupy 
one s self with a guide after one has reached the goal," because 
a guide is needed only so long as the disciple is on the road : 
when the shrine comes into sight the road and the gate are 
worthless. The Shaykhs have said that Ahmad did this in the 
state of intoxication (sukr). In the mystic Path he who says 
"I have arrived" has gone astray. Since arriving is non- 
accomplishment, occupation is (superfluous) trouble, and freedom 
from occupation is idleness, and in either case the principle of 
union (wusiil) is non-existence, for both occupation and its 
opposite are human qualities. Union and separation alike 
depend on the eternal will and providence of God. Hence it is 

1 Marwan b^Mu awiya al-Fazari of Kufa died in 193 A.H. See Dhahabf s 
Tabaqat al-Huffaz. ed by Wiistenfeld, p. 63, No. 44- Al-Qari is probably a mis- 
transcription of al-Fazari. 


impossible to attain to union with Him. The terms "nearness" 
and " neighbourhood " are not applicable to God. A man is 
united to God when God holds him in honour, and separated 
from God when God holds him in contempt. I, All b. Uthman 
al-Jullabi, say that possibly that eminent Shaykh in using the 
word " union " (wusiil) may have meant " discovery of the way 
to God ", for the way to God is not found in books ; and when 
the road lies plain before one no explanation is necessary. 
Those who have attained true knowledge have no use for 
speech, and even less for books. Other Shaykhs have done 
the same thing as Ahmad b. Abi 1-Hawari, for example the 
Grand Shaykh Abu Sa fd Fadlallah b. Muhammad al-Mayhani, 
and they have been imitated by a number of formalists whose 
only object is to gratify their indolence and ignorance. It 
would seem that those noble Shaykhs acted as they did from 
the desire of severing all worldly ties and making their hearts 
empty of all save God. This, however, is proper only in the 
intoxication of commencement (ibtida] and in the fervour of 
youth. Those who have become fixed (jnutamakkin) are not 
veiled (from God) by the whole universe : how, then, by a sheet 
of paper ? It may be said that the destruction of a book signifies 
the impossibility of expressing the real meaning (of an idea). 
In that case the same impossibility should be predicated of the 
tongue, because spoken words are no better than written ones. 
I imagine that Ahmad b. Abi 1-Hawan, finding no listener in 
his fit of ecstasy, wrote down an explanation of his feelings on 
pieces of paper, and having amassed a large quantity, did not 
regard them as suitable to be divulged and accordingly cast 
them into the water. It is also possible that he had collected 
many books, which diverted him from his devotional practices, 
and that he got rid of them for this reason. 


He adopted the path of blame (maldmaf) and wore a soldier s 
dress. His wife, Fatima, daughter of the Amir of Balkh, was 
renowned as a Sufi. When she desired to repent (of her former 


life), she sent a message to Ahmad bidding him ask her in 
marriage of her father. Ahmad refused, whereupon she sent 
another message in the following terms : "O Ahmad, I thought 
you would have been too manly to attack those who travel on 
the way to God. Be a guide (rdhbar\ not a brigand (rdkbur)? 
Ahmad asked her in marriage of her father, who gave her to 
him in the hope of receiving his blessing. Fatima renounced 
all traffic with the world and lived in seclusion with her husband. 
When Ahmad went to visit Bdyazid she accompanied him, and 
on seeing Bayazid she removed her veil and talked to him 
without embarrassment. Ahmad became jealous and said to 
her : " Why dost thou take this freedom with Bayazid ? " She 
replied : " Because you are my natural spouse, but he is my 
religious consort ; through you I come to my desire, but 
through him to God. The proof is that he has no need of 
my society, whereas to you it is necessary." She continued 
to treat Bayazid with the same boldness, until one day he 
observed that her hand was stained with henna and asked her 
why. She answered : " O Bayazid, so long as you did not see 
my hand and the henna I was at my ease with you, but now 
that your eye has fallen on me our companionship is unlawful." 
Then Ahmad and Fatima came to Nishapur and abode there. 
The people and Shaykhs of Nishapur were well pleased with 
Ahmad. When Yahya b. Mu adh al-Razi passed through 
Nishapur on his way from Rayy to Balkh, Ahmad wished to 
give him a banquet, and consulted with Fatima as to what 
things were required. She told him to procure so many oxen 
and sheep, such and such a quantity of sweet herbs, condiments, 
candles, and perfumes, and added, " We must also kill twenty 
donkeys." Ahmad said : " What is the sense of killing donkeys?" 
" Oh ! " said she, " when a noble comes as guest to the house 
of a noble the dogs of the quarter have something too." 
Bayazid said of her : " Whoever wishes to see a man dis 
guised in women s clothes, let him look at Fatima ! " And 
Abu Hafs Haddad says: "But for Ahmad b. Khadruya 
generosity would not have been displayed." He has lofty 


sayings to his credit, and faultless utterances (anfds-i mu- 
hadhdhab\ and is the author of famous works in every branch 
of ethics and of brilliant discourses on mysticism. It is related 
that he said : " The way is manifest and the truth is clear, and 
the shepherd has uttered his call ; after this if anyone loses 
himself, it is through his own blindness," i.e., it is wrong to seek 
the way, since the way to God is like the blazing sun ; do thou 
seek thyself, for when thou hast found thyself thou art come to 
thy journey s end, inasmuch as God is too manifest to admit 
of His being sought. He is recorded to have said : " Hide the 
glory of thy poverty," i.e., do not say to people, " I am a 
dervish," lest thy secret be discovered, for it is a great grace 
bestowed on thee by God. It is related that he said: "A dervish 
invited a rich man to a repast in the month of Ramadan, and 
there was nothing in his house except a loaf of dry bread. 
On returning home the rich man sent to him a purse of gold. 
He sent it back, saying, l This serves me right for revealing my 
secret to one like you. The genuineness of his poverty led him 
to act thus." 



He was one of the chief Shaykhs of Khurasan, and was 
celebrated for his generosity, asceticism, and devoutness. He 
performed many miracles, and experienced marvellous ad 
ventures without number in the desert and elsewhere. He was 
one of the most noted travellers among the Sufis, and used to 
cross the deserts in complete disengagement from worldly things 
(ba-tajrid). His death took place in the desert of Basra. After 
many years had elapsed he was found standing erect with his 
face towards the Ka ba, shrivelled up, with a bucket in front 
of him and a staff in his hand ; and the wild beasts had not 
touched him or come near him. It is related that he said : 
41 The food of the dervish is what he finds, and his clothing 
is what covers him, and his dwelling-place is wherever he 
alights," i.e. he does not choose his own food or his own dress, 


or make a home for himself. The whole world is afflicted by 
these three items, and personal initiative therein keeps us in 
a state of distraction (mashghiilf) while we make efforts to 
procure them. This is the practical aspect of the matter, but 
in a mystical sense the food of the dervish is ecstasy, and 
his clothing is piety, and his dwelling-place is the Unseen, 
for God hath said, " If they stood firm in the right path, We 
should water them with abundant rain" (Kor. Ixxii, 16) ; and 
again, " and fair apparel ; but the garment of piety, that is 
better" (Kor. vii, 25); and the Apostle said, "Poverty is to 
dwell in the Unseen." 


He was perfectly grounded in the true theory of hope in God, 
so that Husri says : " God had two Yahyas, one a prophet and 
the other a saint. Yahya b. Zakariyya trod the path of fear so 
that all pretenders were filled with fear and despaired of their 
salvation, while Yahya b. Mu adh trod the path of hope so that 
he tied the hands of all pretenders to hope." They said to 
Husri : " The state of Yahya b. Zakariyya is well known, but 
what was the state of Yahya b. Mu adh?" He replied: "I have 
been told that he was never in the state of ignorance (JdkUtyyaf) 
and never committed any of the greater sins (kablra)" In the 
practice of devotion he showed an intense perseverance which 
was beyond the power of anyone else. One of his disciples said 
to him : " O Shaykh, thy station is the station of hope, but thy 
practice is the practice of those who fear." Yahya answered : 
" Know, my son, that to abandon the service of God is to go 
astray." Fear and hope are the two pillars of faith. It is 
impossible that anyone should fall into error through practising 
either of them. Those who fear engage in devotion through 
fear of separation (from God), and those who hope engage in it 
through hope of union (with God). Without devotion neither 
fear nor hope can be truly felt, but when devotion is there this 
fear and hope are altogether metaphorical ; and metaphors 
(^ibdraf) are useless where devotion ( ibddat) is required. 


Yahya is the author of many books, fine sayings, and original 
precepts. He was the first of the Shaykhs of this sect, after 
the Orthodox Caliphs, to mount the pulpit. I am very fond 
of his sayings, which are delicately moulded and pleasant to the 
ear and subtle in substance and profitable in devotion. It is 
related that he said : " This world is an abode of troubles 
(ashghdf) and the next world is an abode of terrors (ahwdl\ 
and Man never ceases to be amidst troubles or terrors until he 
finds rest either in Paradise or in Hell-fire." Happy the soul 
that has escaped from troubles and is secure from terrors, and 
has detached its thoughts from both worlds, and has attained 
to God ! Yahya held the doctrine that wealth is superior to 
poverty. Having contracted many debts at Rayy, he set out 
for Khurasan. When he arrived at Balkh the people of that 
city detained him for sometime in order that he might discourse 
to them, and they gave him a hundred thousand dirhems. On 
his way back to Rayy he was attacked by brigands, who seized 
the whole sum. He came in a destitute condition to Nishapur, 
where he died. He was always honoured and held in respect 
by the people. 


He was an eminent Stiff, who is praised by all the Shaykhs. 
He associated with Abu Abdallah al-Abiwardi and Ahmad 
b. Khadruya. Shah Shuja came from Kirman to visit him. 
He did not know Arabic, and when he went to Baghdad to 
visit the Shaykhs there, his disciples said to one another : 
" It is a great shame that the Grand Shaykh of Khurasan 
should need an interpreter to make him understand what 
they say." However, when he met the Shaykhs of Baghdad, 
including Junayd, in the Shuniziyya Mosque, he conversed 
with them in elegant Arabic, so that they despaired of rivalling 
his eloquence. They asked him : "What is generosity?" He 

1 Nafahdti No. 44, has " Salama ". Qushayri calls him Umar b. Maslama. 

2 So LIJ. B. has " al-Haddad ", which is the form generally used by his 


said : " Let one of you begin and declare what it is." Junayd 
said : " In my opinion generosity consists in not regarding your 
generosity and in not referring it to yourself." Abu Hafs 
replied : " How well the Shaykh has spoken ! but in my opinion 
generosity consists in doing justice and in not demanding 
justice." Junayd said to his disciples: "Rise! for Abu Hafs 
has surpassed Adam and all his descendants (in generosity)." 
His conversion is related as follows. He was enamoured of 
a girl, and on the advice of his friends sought help from 
a certain Jew living in the city (shdristdn) of Nishapur. 
The Jew told him that he must perform no prayers for forty 
days, and not praise God or do any good deed or form any 
good intention ; he would then devise a means whereby Abu 
Hafs should gain his desire. Abu Hafs complied with these 
instructions, and after forty days the Jew made a talisman as 
he had promised, but it proved ineffectual. He said : " You 
have undoubtedly done some good deed. Think ! " Abu 
Hafs replied that the only good thing of any sort that he 
had done was to remove a stone which he found on the road 
lest some one might stumble on it. The Jew said to him : 
" Do not offend that God who has not let such a small act 
of yours be wasted though you have neglected His commands 
for forty days." Abu Hafs repented, and the Jew became 
a Moslem. 

Abu Hafs continued to ply the trade of a blacksmith until 
he went to Edward and took the vows of cliscipleship to Abu 
Abdallah Bawardi. One day, after his return to Nishapur, 
he was sitting in his shop listening to a blind man who was 
reciting the Koran in the bazaar. He became so absorbed 
in listening that he put his hand into the fire and, without 
using the pincers, drew out a piece of molten iron from the 
furnace. On seeing this the apprentice fainted. When Abu 
Hafs came to himself he left his shop and no longer earned 
his livelihood. It is related that he said : " I left work and 
returned to it ; then work left me and I never returned to 
it again," because when anyone leaves a thing by one s own act 


and effort, the leaving of it is no better than the taking of 
it, inasmuch as all acquired acts (aksdb] are contaminated, 
and derive their value from the spiritual influence which flows 
from the Unseen without effort on our part ; which influence, 
wherever it descends, is united with the choice of Man and 
loses its pure spirituality. Therefore Man cannot properly 
take or leave anything ; it is God who in His providence 
gives and takes away, and Man only takes what God has 
given or leaves what God has taken away. Though a disciple 
should strive a thousand years to win the favour of God, it 
would be worth less than if God received him into favour for 
a single moment, since everlasting future happiness is involved 
in the favour of past eternity, and Man has no means of 
escape except by the unalloyed bounty of God. Honoured, 
then, is he from whose state the Causer has removed all 
secondary causes. 


He belonged to the ancient Shaykhs, and was one of those 
who were scrupulously devout. He attained the highest rank 
in jurisprudence and divinity, in which sciences he was a follower 
of Thawri. 1 In Sufiism he was a disciple of Abu Turab 
Nakhshabi and All Nasrabadi. When he became renowned 
as a theologian, the Imams and notables of Nishapur urged 
him to mount the pulpit and preach to the people, but he 
refused, saying : " My heart is still attached to the world, and 
therefore my words will make no impression on the hearts of 
others. To speak unprofitable words is to despise theology 
and deride the sacred law. Speech is permissible to him alone 
whose silence is injurious to religion, and whose speaking 
would remove the injury." On being asked why the sayings 
of the early Moslems were more beneficial than those of his 
contemporaries to men s hearts, he replied : " Because they 

1 The words madhhab-i Thawri ddsht may refer either to Abu Thawr Ibrahim 
b. Khalid, a pupil of al-Shafi i, who died in 246 A.H., or to Sufyan al-Thawri. 
See Ibn Khallikan, No. 143. 


discoursed for the glory of Islam and the salvation of souls 
and the satisfaction of the Merciful God, whereas we discourse 
for the glory of ourselves and the quest of worldly gain and 
the favour of mankind." Whoever speaks in accordance with 
God s will and by Divine impulsion, his words have a force 
and vigour that makes an impression on the wicked, but if 
anyone speaks in accordance with his own will, his words are 
weak and tame and do not benefit his hearers. 


He belonged to the school of Iraq, but was approved by 
the people of Khurasan. His sermons were unequalled for 
beauty of language and elegance of exposition. He was learned 
in all the branches of divinity, in traditions, sciences, principles, 
and practices. Some aspirants to Sufiism exaggerate his 
merits beyond measure. It is related that he said : " Glory 
be to Him who hath made the hearts of gnostics vessels of 
praise (dhikr\ and the hearts of ascetics vessels of trust 
(tawakkul), and the hearts of those who trust (inutawakkiliri) 
vessels of acquiescence (ridd), and the hearts of dervishes 
(fuqard) vessels of contentment, and the hearts of worldlings 
vessels of covetousness ! " It is worth while to consider that 
whereas God has placed in every member of the body and 
in every sense a homogeneous quality, e.g., in the hands that 
of seizing, in the feet that of walking, in the eye seeing, in 
the ear hearing, He has placed in each individual heart 
a diverse quality and a different desire, so that one is the seat 
of knowledge, another of error, another of contentment, another 
of covetousness, and so on : hence the marvels of Divine 
action are in nothing manifested more clearly than in human 
hearts. And it is related that he said : " All mankind may 
be reduced to two types the man who knows himself, and 
whose business is self-mortification and discipline, and the 
man who knows his Lord, and whose business is to serve and 
worship and please Him." Accordingly, the worship of the 
former is discipline (riyddat\ while the worship of the latter 


is sovereignty (riydsaf) : the former practises devotion in order 
that he may attain a high degree, but the latter practises 
devotion having already attained all. What a vast difference 
between the two ! One subsists in self- mortification (mujd- 
hadaf), the other in contemplation (muskdhadat). And it is 
related that he said : " There are two classes of men : those 
who have need of God and they hold the highest rank 
from the standpoint of the sacred law and those who pay 
no regard to their need of God, because they know that God 
has provided for their creation and livelihood and death and 
life and happiness and misery : they need God alone, and 
having him are independent of all else." The former, through 
seeing their own need, are veiled from seeing the Divine 
providence, whereas the latter, through not seeing their own 
need, are unveiled and independent. The former enjoy felicity, 
but the latter enjoy the Giver of felicity. 


He lived to a great age and associated with the ancient 
Shaykhs, and was acquainted with those who belonged to 
the third generation after the Prophet (atbd* al-tdbi l m). He 
was a contemporary of Bishr and Sari, and a pupil of Harith 
Muhasibf. He had seen Fudayl and consorted with him. It 
is related that he said : " The most beneficial poverty is that 
which you regard as honourable, and with which you are well 
pleased," i.e., the honour of the vulgar consists in affirmation 
of secondary causes, but the honour of the dervish consists 
in denying secondary causes and in affirming the Causer, 
and in referring everything to Him, and in being well pleased 
with His decrees. Poverty is the non-existence of secondary 
causes, whereas wealth is the existence of secondary causes. 
Poverty detached from a secondary cause is with God, and 
wealth attached to a secondary cause is with itself. Therefore 
secondary causes involve the state of being veiled (from God), 
while their absence involves the state of unveiledness. This 
is a clear explanation of the superiority of poverty to wealth. 



He was an ascetic and scrupulously devout. He has related 
trustworthy traditions, and in jurisprudence, as well as in the 
practice and theory of divinity, he followed the doctrine of 
Thawri, with whose pupils he had associated. It is recorded 
that he said : " Whoever desires to be living in his life, let him 
not admit covetousness to dwell in his heart," because the 
covetous man is dead in the toils of his covetousness, which is 
like a seal on his heart ; and the sealed heart is dead. Blessed 
is the heart that dies to all save God and lives through God, 
inasmuch as God has made His praise (dhikr) the glory of 
men s hearts, and covetousness their disgrace ; and to this 
effect is the saying of Abdallah b. Khubayq : " God created 
men s hearts to be the homes of His praise, but they have 
become the homes of lust ; and nothing can clear them of lust 
except an agitating fear or a restless desire." Fear and desire 
(shawq) are the two pillars of faith. When faith is settled in the 
heart, praise and contentment accompany it, not covetousness 
and heedlessness. Lust and covetousness are the result of 
shunning the society of God. The heart that shuns the society 
of God knows nothing of faith, since faith is intimate with God 
and averse to associate with aught else. 



He was approved by externalists and spiritualists alike. He 
was perfect in every branch of science, and spoke with authority 
on theology, jurisprudence, and ethics. He was a follower of 
Thawri. His sayings are lofty and his inward state perfect, so 
that all Sufis unanimously acknowledge his leadership. His 
mother was the sister of Sari Saqati, and Junayd was the 
disciple of Sari. One day Sari was asked whether the rank of 
a disciple is ever higher than that of his spiritual director. 
He replied : " Yes ; there is manifest proof of this : the rank 
of Junayd is above mine." It was the humility and insight of 
Sari that caused him to say this. As is well known, Junayd 


refused to discourse to his disciples so long as Sari was alive, 
until one night he dreamed that the Apostle said to him : 
" CTjunayd, speak to the people, for God hath made thy words 
the means of saving a multitude of mankind." When he 
awoke the thought occurred to him that his rank was superior 
to that of Sari, since the Apostle had commanded him to preach. 
At daybreak Sari sent a disciple to Junayd with the following 
message : " You would not discourse to your disciples when 
they urged you to do so, and you rejected the intercession of 
the Shaykhs of Baghdad and my personal entreaty. Now that 
the Apostle has commanded you, obey his orders." Junayd 
said : " That fancy went out of my head. I perceived that Sari 
was acquainted with my outward and inward thoughts in all 
circumstances, and that his rank was higher than mine, since he 
was acquainted with my secret thoughts, whereas I was ignorant 
of his state. I went to him and begged his pardon, and asked 
him how he knew that I had dreamed of the Apostle. He 
answered : * I dreamed of God, who told me that He had sent 
the Apostle to bid you preach. " This anecdote contains a clear 
indication that spiritual directors are in every case acquainted 
with the inward experiences of their disciples. 

It is related that he said : " The speech of the prophets gives 
information concerning presence (hudur\ while the speech of 
the saints (siddiqin] alludes to contemplation (jnushdhadai)" 
True information is derived from sight, and it is impossible to 
give true information of anything that one has not actually 
witnessed, whereas allusion (ishdraf) involves reference to 
another thing. Hence the perfection and ultimate goal of 
the saints is the beginning of the state of the prophets. The 
distinction between prophet (nabi} and saint (wait), and the 
superiority of the former to the latter, is plain, notwithstanding 
that two heretical sects declare the saints to surpass the 
prophets in excellence. It is related that he said : " I was 
eagerly desirous of seeing Iblis. One day,_when I was standing 
in the mosque, an old man came through the door and turned 
his face towards me. Horror seized my heart. When he came 



near I said to him, * Who art thou ? for I cannot bear to look 
on thee, or think of thee. He answered, I am he whom you 
desired to see. I exclaimed, O accursed one ! what hindered 


thee from bowing down to Adam ? He answered, O Junayd, 
how can you imagine that I should bow down to anyone 
except God? I was amazed at his saying this, but a secret 
voice whispered : Say to him, Thou liest. Hadst thou been 
an obedient servant thou wouldst not have transgressed His 
command Ibli s heard the voice in my heart. He cried out 
and said, By God, you have burnt me ! and vanished." This 
story shows that God preserves His saints in all circumstances 
from the guile of Satan. One of Junayd s disciples bore him 
a grudge, and after leaving him returned one day with the 
intention of testing him. Junayd was aware of this and said, 
replying to his question : " Do you want a formal or a spiritual 
answer?" The disciple said: "Both." Junayd said: "The 
formal answer is that if you had tested yourself you would 
not have needed to test me. The spiritual answer is that 
I depose you from your saintship." The disciple s face im 
mediately turned black. He cried, "The delight of certainty 
(yaqtri) is gone from my heart," and earnestly begged to be 
forgiven, and abandoned his foolish self-conceit. Junayd said 
to him : " Did not you know that God s saints possess mysterious 
powers? You cannot endure their blows." He cast a breath 
at the disciple, who forthwith resumed his former purpose and 
repented of criticizing the Shaykhs. 

He has a peculiar doctrine in Sufiism and is the model of 
a number of aspirants to Sufiism, who follow him and are 
called Nun s. The whole body of aspirants to Sufiism is 
n composed of twelve sects, two of which are condemned 
(mardud), while the remaining ten are approved (inaqbul}. The 
latter are the Muhasibis, the Qassdrfs, the Tay fun s, the Junaydis, 
the Nun s, the Sahlfs, the Hakimis, the Kharrazi s, the Khafifis, 
and the Sayyarfs. All these assert the truth and belong to the 


mass of orthodox Moslems. The two condemned sects are, 

firstly, the Hululis, 1 who derive their name from the doctrine ./** 

* <*-- ~ / 

of incarnation (Jmlul) and incorporation (imtizdf)^ and with 
whom are connected the Salimi sect of anthropomorphists ; 2 
and secondly, the Hallajis, who have abandoned the sacred law M 
and have adopted heresy, and with whom are connected the 
Ibahatis 5 and the Farisis. 4 I shall include in this book 
a chapter on the twelve sects and shall explain their different 

Nun took a praiseworthy course in rejecting flattery and 
indulgence and in being assiduous in self-mortification. It is 
related that he said : " I came to Junayd and found him seated 
in the professorial chair (inusaddar). I said to him : O Abu 1- 
Qasim, thou hast concealed the truth from them and they have 
put thee in the place of honour ; but I have told them the 
truth and they have pelted me with stones, " because flattery is 
compliance with one s desire and sincerity is opposition to it, 
and men hate anyone who opposes their desires and love 
anyone who complies with their desires. Nurf was the 
companion of Junayd and the disciple of Sari. He had 
associated with many Shaykhs, and had met Ahmad b. Abi 1- 
Hawarf. He is the author of subtle precepts and fine sayings 
on various branches of the mystical science. It is related that 
he said : " Union with God is separation from all else, and 
separation from all else is union with Him," i.e., anyone 
whose mind is united with God is separated from all besides, 
and vice versa : therefore union of the mind with God is 
separation from the thought of created things, and to be 
rightly turned away from phenomena is to be rightly turned 
towards God. I have read in the Anecdotes that once Nun 
stood in his chamber for three days and nights, never moving 

1 B. has "the Hulmanis ", i.e. the followers of Abu Hulman of Damascus. See 
Shahristani, Haarbriicker s translation, ii, 417. 

2 The Salimis are described (ibid.) as "a number of scholastic theologians 
(nnitakallitnun) belonging to Basra". 

3 " Ibahati "or " Ibahi " signifies "one who regards everything as permissible ". 

4 See the eleventh section of the fourteenth chapter. 


from his place or ceasing to wail. Junayd went to see him and 
said: "O Abu 5 l-Hasan, if thou knowest that crying aloud to 
God is of any use, tell me, in order that I too may cry aloud ; 
but if thou knowest that it avails naught, surrender thyself 
to acquiescence in God s will, in order that thy heart may 
rejoice." Nun stopped wailing and said : " Thou teachest me 
well, O Abu 1-Qasim!" It is related that he said: "The 
two rarest things in our time are a learned man who practises 
what he knows and a gnostic who speaks from the reality of 
his state," i.e., both learning and gnosis are rare, since learning- 
is not learning unless it is practised, and gnosis is not gnosis 
unless it has reality. Nun referred to his own age, but these 
things are rare at all times, and they are rare to-day. Anyone 
who should occupy himself in seeking for learned men and 
gnostics would waste his time and would not find them. Let 
him be occupied with himself in order that he may see learning 
everywhere, and let him turn from himself to God in order that 
he may see gnosis everywhere. Let him seek learning and 
gnosis in himself, and let him demand practice and reality from 
himself. It is related that Nun said: "Those who regard 
things as determined by God turn to God in everything/ 
because they find rest in regarding the Creator, not created 
objects, whereas they would always be in tribulation if they 
considered things to be the causes of actions. To do so is 
polytheism, for a cause is not self-subsistent, but depends on 
the Causer. When they turn to Him they escape from trouble. 


He is one of the eminent Sufi s of past times. At first he 
associated with Yahya b. Mu adh ; then he consorted for 
a while with Shah Shuja of Kirman, and accompanied him 
to Nishapur on a visit to Abu Hafs, with whom he remained to 
the end of his life. It is related on trustworthy authority that 
he said : " In my childhood I was continually seeking the Truth, 
and the externalists inspired me with a feeling of abhorrence. 
I perceived that the sacred law concealed a mystery under the 


superficial forms which are followed by the vulgar. When 
I grew up I happened to hear a discourse by Yahya b. Mu adh 
of Rayy, and I found there the mystery that was the object 
of my search. I continued to associate with Yahya until, on 
hearing reports of Shah Shuja Kirmani from a number of 
persons who had been in his company, I felt a longing to 
visit him. Accordingly I quitted Rayy and set out for Kirman. 
Shah Shuja , however, would not admit me to his society. 
You have been nursed, said he, in the doctrine of hope 
(rajd\ on which Yahya takes his stand. No one who has 
imbibed this doctrine can tread the path of purgation, because 
a mechanical belief in hope produces indolence. I besought 
him earnestly, and lamented and stayed at his door for twenty- 
days. At length he admitted me, and I remained in his society 
until he took me with him to visit Abu Hafs at Ni shapur. On 
this occasion Shall Shuja was wearing a coat (qabd]. When 
Abu Hafs saw him he rose from his seat and advanced to meet 
him, saying, I have found in the coat what I sought in the 
cloak ( afrdy During our residence in Nishapur I conceived 
a strong desire to associate with Abu Hafs, but was restrained 
from devoting myself to attendance on him by my respect for 
Shah Shuja . Meanwhile I was imploring God to make it 
possible for me to enjoy the society of Abu Hafs without 
hurting the feelings of Shah Shujd , who was a jealous man ; 
and Abu Hafs was aware of my wishes. On the day of our 
departure I dressed myself for the journey, although I was 
leaving my heart with Abu Hafs. Abu Hafs said familiarly 
to Shh Shuja , I am pleased with this youth ; let him stay 
here. Shah Shuja turned to me and said, Do as the Shaykh 
bids thee. So I remained with Abu Hafs and experienced 
many wonderful things in his company." God caused Abu 
Uthman to pass through three "stations" by means of three 
spiritual directors, and these " stations ", which he indicated as 
belonging to them, he also made his own : the " station " of 
hope through associating .with Yahya, the "station" of jealousy 
through associating with Shah Shuja , and the "station" of 


affection (shafaqat) through associating with Abu Hafs. It is 
allowable for a disciple to associate with five or six or more 
directors and to have a different " station " revealed to him by 
each one of them, but it is better that he should not confuse his 
own " station " with theirs. He should point to their perfection 
in that " station " and say : " I gained this by associating with 
them, but they were superior to it." This is more in accordance 
with good manners, for spiritual adepts have nothing to do with 
" stations " and " states ". 

To Abu Uthman was due the divulgation of Sufiism in 
Nishapur and Khurasan. He consorted with Junayd, Ruwaym, 
Yusuf b. al-Husayn, and Muhammad b. Fadl al-Balkhi, and no 
Shaykh ever derived as much spiritual advantage from his 
directors as he did. The people of Nishapur set up a pulpit 
that he might discourse to them on Sufiism. He is the author 
of sublime treatises on various branches of this science. It is 
related that he said: "It behoves one whom God hath honoured 
with gnosis not to dishonour himself by disobedience to God." 
This refers to actions acquired by Man and to his continual 
effort to keep the commandments of God, because, even though 
you recognize that it is worthy of God not to dishonour by 
disobedience anyone whom He has honoured with gnosis, yet 
gnosis is God s gift and disobedience is Man s act. It is 
impossible that one who is honoured with God s gift should 
be dishonoured by his own act. God honoured Adam with 
knowledge : He did not dishonour him on account of his sin. 


He associated with Junayd and Abu 1-Hasan Nun and other 
great Shaykhs. It is recorded that he said : " The mind of the 
gnostic is fixed on his Lord ; he does not pay attention to 
anything else," because the gnostic knows nothing except 
gnosis, and since gnosis is the whole capital of his heart, his 
thoughts are entirely bent on vision (of God), for distraction 
of thought produces cares, and cares keep one back from God. 
He tells the following story : <( One day I saw a beautiful 


Christian boy. I was amazed at his loveliness and stood still 
opposite him. Junayd passed by me. I said to him, O master, 
will God burn a face like this in Hell-fire? He answered: 
* O my son, this is a trick of the flesh, not a look by which one 
takes warning. If you look with due consideration, the same 
marvel is existent in every atom of the universe. You will soon 
be punished for this want of respect. When Junayd turned 
away from me I immediately forgot the Koran, and it did not 
come back to my memory until I had for years implored God 
to help me and had repented of my sin. Now I dare not pay 
heed to any created object or waste my time by looking at 


He was an intimate friend of Junayd. In jurisprudence he 
followed Dawud, 1 and he was deeply versed in the sciences 
relating to the interpretation and reading of the Koran. He 
was famed for the loftiness of his state and the exalted ness of 
his station, and for his journeys in detachment from the world 
(tajrid\ and for his severe austerities. Towards the end of his 
ife he hid himself among the rich and gained the Caliph s 
confidence, but such was the perfection of his spiritual rank that 
he was not thereby veiled from God. Hence Junayd said : 
" We are devotees occupied (with the world), and Ruwaym is 
a man occupied (with the world) who is devoted (to God)." 
He wrote several works on Sufiism, one of which, entitled 
Ghalat al - Wdjidin? deserves particular mention. I am 
exceedingly fond of it. One day he was asked, u How are 
you?" He replied: "How is he whose religion is his lust 
and whose thought is (fixed on) his worldly affairs, who is 
neither a pious God-fearing man nor a gnostic and one of 
God s elect?" This refers to the vices of the soul that is 
subject to passion and regards lust as its religion. Sensual 
men consider anyone to be devout who complies with their 

1 Dawud of Isfahan, the founder of the Zahirite school (Brockelmann, i, 183). 

2 i.e. " The Error of Ecstatic Persons". 


inclinations, even though he be a heretic, and anyone to be 
irreligious who thwarts their desires, even though he be a 
pietist. This is a widely spread disease at the present time. 
God save us from associating with any such person ! Ruwaym 
doubtless gave this answer in reference to the inward state of 
the questioner, which he truly diagnosed, or it may be that 
God had temporarily allowed him to fall into that condition, 
and that he described himself as he then was in reality. 


He was one of the ancient Shaykhs and great Imams of his 
age. He was a disciple of Dhu J l-Nun the Egyptian, and 
consorted with a large number of Shaykhs and performed 
service to them all. It is related that he said: "The meanest 
of mankind is the covetous dervish and he who loves his 
beloved, and the noblest of them is the veracious (al-siddtq)? 
Covetousness renders the dervish ignominious in both worlds, 
because he is already despicable in the eyes of worldlings, and 
only becomes more despicable if he builds any hopes on 
them. Wealth with honour is far more perfect than poverty 
with disgrace. Covetousness causes the dervish to incur the 
imputation of sheer mendacity. Again, he who loves his beloved 
is the meanest of mankind, since the lover acknowledges himself 
to be very despicable in comparison with his beloved and 
abases himself before her, and this also is the result of desire. 
So long as Zulaykhd. desired Yusuf, she became every day more 
mean : when she cast desire away, God gave her beauty and 
youth back to her. It is a law that when the lover advances, 
the beloved retires. If the lover is satisfied with love alone, 
then the beloved draws near. In truth, the lover has honour 
only while he has no desire for union. Unless his love diverts 
him from all thought of union or separation, his love is weak. 

He was held in great esteem by all the Shaykhs. They 
called him Sumnun the Lover (al-Muhibb\ but he called 


himself Sumnun the Liar (al-Kadhdhdb]. He suffeu i much 
persecution at the hands of Ghulam al-Khalil, 1 who had made 
himself known to the Caliph and courtiers by his pretended 
piety and Sufiism. This hypocrite spoke evil of the Shaykhs 
and dervishes, hoping to bring about their banishment from 
Court and to establish his own power. Fortunate indeed were 
Sumnun and those Shaykhs to have only one adversary of 
this sort. In the present day there are a hundred Ghulam 
al-Khalils for every true spiritualist, but what matter ? Carrion 
is fit food for vultures. When Sumnun gained eminence and 
popularity in Baghdad, Ghulam al-Khalil began to intrigue. 
A woman had fallen in love with Sumnun and made proposals 
to him, which he refused. She went to Junayd, begging him 
to advise Sumnun to marry her. On being sent away by 
Junayd, she came to Ghulam al-Khalil and accused Sumnun 
of having attempted her virtue. He listened eagerly to her 
slanders, and induced the Caliph to command that Sumnun 
should be put to death. When the Caliph was about to give 
the word to the executioner his tongue stuck in his throat. 
The same night he dreamed that his empire would last no 
longer than Sumnun s life. Next day he asked his pardon 
and restored him to favour. Sumnun is the author of lofty 
sayings and subtle indications concerning the real nature of 
love. On his way from the Hijaz the people of Fayd 
requested him to discourse to them about this subject. He 
mounted the pulpit, but while he was speaking all his hearers 
departed. Sumnun turned to the lamps and said : " I am 
speaking to you." Immediately all the lamps collapsed and 
broke into small bits. It is related that he said : " A thing 
can be explained only by what is more subtle than itself: 
there is nothing subtler than love : by what, then, shall love 

1 Abu Abdallah Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Ghalib b. Khalid al-Basri al-Bahili, 
generally known as Ghulam Khalil, died in 275 A.H. He is described by Abu 1- 
Mahasin (Nuj um, ii, 79, i ff.) as a traditionist, ascetic, and saint. According to 
the Tadhkirat al-Awliyd (ii, 48, 4 ff.), he represented to the Caliph that Junayd, 
Nuri, Shibli, and other eminent Sufis were freethinkers and heretics, and urged him 
to put them to death. 


be explained ? " The meaning of this is that love cannot be 
explained because explanation is an attribute of the explainer. 
Love is an attribute of the Beloved, therefore no explanation 
of its real nature is possible. 

He was of royal descent. He associated with Abu Turab 
Nakhshabi and many other Shaykhs. Something has been 
said of him in the notice of Abu Uthman al-Hfri. He com 
posed a celebrated treatise on Sufiism as well as a book 
entitled Mir at al-Hukamd. 1 It is recorded that he said : 
" The eminent have eminence until they see it, and the saints 
have saintship until they see it," i.e., whoever regards his 
eminence loses its reality, and whoever regards his saintship 
loses its reality. His biographers relate that for forty years 
he never slept; then he fell asleep and dreamed of God. 
" O Lord," he cried, " I was seeking Thee in nightly vigils, 
but I have found Thee in sleep." God answered : " O Shah, 
you have found Me by means of those nightly vigils : if you 
had not sought Me there, you would not have found Me here." 


He was one of the principal Sufis, and is the author of 
celebrated works on the mystical sciences. He became a 
disciple of Junayd after he had seen Abu Sa id Kharraz and 
had associated with Nibaji. 2 He was the Imam of his age 
in theology. It is related that he said : " Ecstasy does not 
admit of explanation, because it is a secret between God and 
the true believers." Let men seek to explain it as they will, 
their explanation is not that secret, inasmuch as all human 
power and effort is divorced from the Divine mysteries. It 
is said that when Amr came to Isfahan a young man 
associated with him against the wish of his father. The 
young man fell into a sickness. One day the Shaykh with 

1 i.e. " The Mirror of the Sages ". 

2 Sa id (Abu Abdallah) b. Yazid al-Nibaji. See Nafahdt, No. 86. 


a number of friends came to visit him. He begged the 
Shaykh to bid the singer (qawwdf] chant a few verses, where 
upon ( Amr desired the singer to chant 

Md li maridtu wa-laui ya udni l d id 
Minkum wa-yamradu l abdukum fa-a l ildu. 

" How is it that when I fell ill none of you visited me, 
Though I visit your slave when he falls ill ? " 

On hearing this the invalid left his bed and sat down, and 
the violence of his malady was diminished. He said : " Give 

me some more." So the singer chanted 


Wa-ashaddu min maradi alayya sudtidukum 
Wa-sudiidu abdikumu l alayya shadidu. 

" Your neglect is more grievous to me than my sickness ; 
It would grieve me to neglect your slave." 

The young man s sickness departed from him. His father 
permitted him to associate with Amr and repented of the 
suspicion which he had harboured in his heart, and the youth 
became an eminent Sufi. 


His austerities were great and his devotions excellent. He 
has fine sayings on sincerity and the defects of human actions. 
The formal divines say that he combined the Law and the 
Truth (jama a bayn al-sJiari at wa l-haqiqaf}. This statement , j f *> 
is erroneous, for the two things have never been divided. The 
Law is the Truth, and the Truth is the Law. Their assertion ">/ 
is founded on the fact that the sayings of this Shaykh are more 
intelligible and easy to apprehend than is sometimes the case. 
Inasmuch as God has joined the Law to the Truth, it is 
impossible that His saints should separate them. If they be 
separated, one must inevitably be rejected and the other 
accepted. Rejection of the Law is heresy, and rejection of the 
Truth is infidelity and polytheism. Any (proper) separation 
between them is made, not to establish a difference of meaning, 


but to affirm the Truth, as when it is said : " The words there 
is no god save Allah are Truth, and the words Muhammad is 
the Apostle of Allah are Law." No one can separate the one 
from the other without impairing his faith, and it is vain to 
wish to do so. In short, the Law is a branch of the Truth : 
knowledge of God is Truth, and obedience to His command is 
Law. These formalists deny whatever does not suit their fancy, 
and it is dangerous to deny one of the fundamental principles 
of the Way to God. Praise be to Allah for the faith which He 
has given us ! And it is related that he said : " The sun does 
not rise or set upon anyone on the face of the earth who is 
not ignorant of God, unless he prefers God to his own soul and 
spirit and to his present and future life," i.e., if anyone cleaves 
to self-interest, that is a proof that he is ignorant of God, 
because knowledge of God requires abandonment of forethought 
(tadbir}) and abandonment of forethought is resignation (taslim\ 
whereas perseverance in forethought arises from ignorance of 



He was approved by the people of Iraq as well as by those 
of Khurasan. He was a pupil of Ahmad b. Khadruya, and 
Abu Uthman of Hfra had a great affection for him. Having 
been expelled from Balkh by fanatics on account of his love 
of Sufiism, he went to Samarcand, where he passed his life. 
It is related that he said : " He that has most knowledge of 
God is he that strives hardest to fulfil His commandments, and 
follows most closely the custom of His Prophet." The nearer 
one is to God the more eager one is to do His bidding, and the 
farther one is from God the more averse one is to follow His 
Apostle. It is related that he said: " I wonder at those who cross 
deserts and wildernesses to reach His House and Sanctuary, 
because the traces of His prophets are to be found there: why 
do not they cross their own passions and lusts to reach their 
hearts, where they will find the traces of their Lord ? " That 


is to say, the heart is the seat of knowledge of God and is 
more venerable than the Ka ba, to which men turn in devotion. 
Men are ever looking towards the Ka ba, but God is ever 
looking towards the heart. Wherever the heart is, my Beloved 
is there ; wherever His decree is, my desire is there ; wherever 
the traces of my prophets l are, the eyes of those whom I love 
are directed there. 


He is the author of many excellent books which, by their 
eloquence, declare the miracles vouchsafed to him, e.g., the 
Khatm al- Wildyat? the Kitdb al-Nahj? the Nawddir al- Ustil* 
and many more, such as the Kitdb al-Tawhid b and the Kitdb 
Adhdb al-Qabr^ : it would be tedious to mention them all. 
I hold him in great veneration and am entirely devoted to 
him. My Shaykh said : " Muhammad is a union pearl that 
has no like in the whole world." He has also written works 
on the formal sciences, and is a trustworthy authority for the 
traditions of the Prophet which he related. He began a 
commentary on the Koran, but did not live long enough to 
finish it. The completed portion is widely circulated among 
theologians. He studied jurisprudence with an intimate friend 
of Abu Hamfa. The inhabitants of Tirmidh call him 
Muhammad Hakim, and the Haki mis, a Sufi sect in that 
region, are his followers. Many remarkable stories are told of 
him, as for instance that he associated with the Apostle Khidr. 
His disciple, Abu Bakr Warraq, relates that Khidr used to visit 
him every Sunday, and that they conversed with each other. 
It is recorded that he said : " Anyone who is ignorant of the 
nature of servantship (^ubiidiyyat) is yet more ignorant of the 
nature of lordship (rubi ibiyyaf)? i.e., whoever does not know 
the way to knowledge of himself does not know the way to 

1 So in all the texts. 2 "The Seal of Saintship." 

3 " The Book of the Highway. " 4 " Choice Principles." 

5 "The Book Unification. " 6 The Book of the Torment of the Tomb. 


knowledge of God, and whoever does not recognize the con 
tamination of human qualities does not recognize the purity of 
the Divine attributes, inasmuch as the outward is connected 
with the inward, and he who claims to possess the former 
without the latter makes an absurd assertion. Knowledge of 
the nature of lordship depends on having right principles of 
servantship, and is not perfect without them. This is a very 
profound and instructive saying. It will be fully explained in 
the proper place. 


He was a great Shaykh and ascetic. He had seen Ahmad 
b. Khadrtiya and associated with Muhammad b. All. He 
is the author of books on rules of discipline and ethics. 
The Stiff Shaykhs have called him "The Instructor of the 
Saints" (mu addib al-awliya]. He relates the following story: 
" Muhammad b. All handed to me some of his writings with 
the request that I should throw them into the Oxus. I had 
not the heart to do so, but placed them in my house and came 
to him and told him that I had carried out his order. He 
asked me what I had seen. I replied, Nothing. He said, 
You have not obeyed me ; return and throw them into the 
river. I returned, doubting the promised sign, and cast them 
into the river. The waters parted and a chest appeared, with 
its lid open. As soon as the papers fell into it, the lid closed 
and the waters joined again and the chest vanished. I went 
back to him and told him what had occurred. He answered, 
Now you have thrown them in. I begged him to explain the 
mystery. He said : I composed a work on theology and 
mysticism which could hardly be comprehended by the intellect. 
My brother Khidr desired it of me, and God bade the waters 
bring it to him. " 

It is related that Abu Bakr Warraq said : " There are three 
classes of men divines ( ulama) and princes (untard) and 
dervishes (fuqard). When the divines are corrupt, piety and 
religion are vitiated ; when the princes are corrupt, men s 


livelihood is spoiled ; and when the dervishes are corrupt, men s 
morals are depraved." Accordingly, the corruption of the divines 
consists in covetousness, that of the princes in injustice, and that 
of the dervishes in hypocrisy. Princes do not become corrupt 
until they turn their backs on divines, and divines do not become 
corrupt until they associate with princes, and dervishes do not 
become corrupt until they seek ostentation, ^because the injustice 
of princes is due to want of knowledge, and the covetousness of 
divines is due to want of piety^jind the hypocrisy of dervishes 
is due to want of trust in God. 


He was the first who explained the doctrine of annihilation 
(fand) and subsistence (baqd). He is the author of brilliant 
compositions and sublime sayings and allegories. He had met 
Dhu 1-Nun of Egypt, and associated with Bishr and Sari. It 
is related that concerning the words of the Apostle, " Hearts 
are naturally disposed to love him who acts kindly towards 
them," he said : " Oh ! I wonder at him who sees none acting 
kindly towards him except God, how he does not incline to 
God with his whole being," inasmuch as true beneficence 
belongs to the Lord of phenomenal objects and is conferred 
only upon those who have need of it ; how can he who needs 
beneficence from others bestow it upon anyone ? God is the 
King and Lord of all and hath need of none. Recognizing this, 
the friends of God behold in every gift and benefit the Giver 
and Benefactor. Their hearts are wholly taken captive by love 
of Him and turned away from everything else. 


According to others, his name is All b. Sahl. He was 
a great Shaykh. Junayd and he wrote exquisite letters to one 
another, and Amr b. Uthman Makki went to Isfahan to visit 
him. He consorted with Abu Turab and Junayd. He followed 
a praiseworthy Path in Sufiism and one that was peculiarly his 
own. He was adorned with acquiescence in God s will and 


self-discipline, and was preserved from mischiefs and con 
taminations. He spoke eloquently on the theory and practice 
of mysticism, and lucidly explained its difficulties and symbolical 
allusions. It is related that he said: "Presence (Jiudur) is better 
than certainty (yaqtn\ because presence is an abiding state 
(ivatandt\ whereas certainty is a transient one (khatardf)" 
i.e., presence makes its abode in the heart and does not admit 
forgetfulness, while certainty is a feeling that comes and goes : 
hence those who are " present " (hddirdti) are in the sanctuary, 
and those who have certainty (mtiqindri) are only at the gate. 
The subject of " absence " and " presence " will be discussed in 
a separate chapter of this book. 

And he said also : " From the time of Adam to the Resur 
rection people cry, The heart, the heart ! and I wish that 
I might find some one to describe what the heart is or how it 
is, but I find none. People in general give the name of heart * 
(dil) to that piece of flesh which belongs to madmen and 
ecstatics and children, who really are without heart (bedil). 
What, then, is this heart, of which I hear only the name ? " 
That is to say, if I call intellect the heart, it is not the heart ; 
and if I call spirit the heart, it is not the heart ; and if I call 
knowledge the heart, it is not the heart. All the evidences of 
the Truth subsist in the heart, yet only the name of it is to be 


He was a great Shaykh, and in his time discoursed with 
eloquence on ethics and preached excellent sermons. He died 
at an advanced age. Both Shibli and Ibrahim Khawwas were 
converted in his place of meeting. He sent Shibli to Junayd, 
wishing to observe the respect due to the latter. He was a pupil 
of Sari, and was contemporary with Junayd and Abu 1- Hasan 
Nun. Junayd held him in high regard, and Abu Hamza of 
Baghdad treated him with the utmost consideration. It is 
related that he was called Khayr al-Nassaj from the following 


circumstance. He left Samarra, his native town, with the 
intention of performing the pilgrimage. At the gate of Kufa, 
which lay on his route, he was seized by a weaver of silk, who 
cried out : " You are my slave, and your name is Khayr." 
Deeming this to come from God, he did not contradict the 
weaver, and remained many years in his employment. When 
ever his master said " Khayr ! " he answered, " At thy service " 
(labbayfc), until the man repented of what he had done and said 
to Khayr : " I made a mistake ; you are not my slave." So he 
departed and went to Mecca, where he attained to such a degree 
that Junayd said : " Khayr is the best of us " (Khayr khayruna). 
He used to prefer to be called Khayr, saying : " It is not right 
that I should alter a name which has been bestowed on me by 
a Moslem." They relate that when the hour of his death 
approached, it was time for the evening prayer. He opened his 
eyes and looked at the Angel of Death and said : " Stop ! God 
save thee ! Thou art only a servant who has received His 
orders, and I am the same. That which thou art commanded 
to do (viz. to take my life) will not escape thee, but that which 
I am commanded to do (viz. to perform the evening prayer) 
will escape me : therefore let me do as I am bidden, and then 
do as thou art bidden." He then called for water and cleansed 
himself, and performed the evening prayer and gave up his 
life. On the same night he was seen in a dream and was 
asked : " What has God done to thee ? " He answered : " Do 
not ask me of this, but I have gained release from your world." 

It is related that he said in his place of meeting : " God hath 
expanded the breasts of the pious with the light of certainty, 
and hath opened the eyes of the possessors of certainty with 
the light of the verities of faith." Certainty is indispensable to 
the pious, whose hearts are expanded with the light of certainty, 
and those who have certainty cannot do without the verities of 
faith, inasmuch as their intellectual vision consists in the light 
of faith. Accordingly, where faith is certainty is there, and 
where certainty is piety is there, for they go hand in hand 
with each other. 




He is one of the ancient Shaykhs of Khurasdn. He 
associated with Abu Turab, and had seen Kharraz. 1 He was 
firmly grounded in trust in God (tawakkut). It is a well- 
known story that one day he fell into a pit. After three days 
had passed a party of travellers approached. Abu Hamza said 
to himself: " I will call out to them." Then he said : " No ; it 
is not good that I seek aid from anyone except God, and 
I shall be complaining of God if I tell them that my God 
has cast me into a pit and implore them to rescue me." When 
they came up and saw an open pit in the middle of the road, 
they said : " For the sake of obtaining Divine recompense 
(tJiawdU) we must cover this pit lest anyone should fall into 
it." Abu Hamza said : " I became deeply agitated and 
abandoned hope of life. After they blocked the mouth of the 
pit and departed, I prayed to God and resigned myself to die, 
and hoped no more of mankind. When night fell I heard 
a movement at the top of the pit. I looked attentively. The 
mouth of the pit was open, and I saw a huge animal like 
a dragon, which let down its tail. I knew that God had sent it 
and that I should be saved in this way. I took hold of its tail 
and it dragged me out. A heavenly voice cried to me, This 
is an excellent escape of thine, O Abu Hamza ! We have 
saved thee from death by means of a death " (i.e. a deadly 

He was asked, "Who is the stranger (ghari)1 n He replied, 
" He who shuns society," because the dervish has no home or 
society either in this world or the next, and when he is dis 
sociated from phenomenal existence he shuns everything, and 
then he is a stranger ; and this is a very lofty degree. 


He was one of the great men of Khurdsan, and the Saints of 
God are unanimously agreed that he was one of the Aw tad. He 

1 See No. 44. 


associated with the Qutb y who is the pivot of the universe. On 
being asked to say who the Qutb was, he did not declare his 
name but hinted that Junayd was that personage. He had 
done service to the Forty who possess the rank of fixity 
(sahib tamkiri] and received instruction from them. It is related 
that he said : " If anyone takes joy in aught except God, his joy 
produces sorrow, and if anyone is not intimate with the service 
of his Lord, his intimacy produces loneliness (wakskat)" i.e., 
all save Him is perishable, and whoever rejoices in what is 
perishable, when that perishes becomes stricken with sorrow ; 
and except His service all else is vain, and when the vileness 
of created objects is made manifest, his intimacy (with them) 
is wholly turned to loneliness : hence, the sorrow and loneliness 
of the entire universe consist in regarding that which is other 
(than God). 


In his time he was an approved teacher and a careful guardian 
of his disciples. Both Ibrahim Khawwas and Ibrahim Shaybam 
were pupils of his. He has lofty sayings and shining evidences, 
and he was perfectly grounded in detachment from this world. 
It is related that he said : " I never saw anyone more just than 
the world : if you serve her she will serve you, and if you leave 
her she will leave you," i.e. as long as you seek her she will 
seek you, but when you turn away from her and seek God she 
will flee from you, and worldly thoughts will no more cling to 
your heart. 


He wrote brilliant works on the science of ethics and the 
detection of spiritual cankers. He was a pupil of Muhammad 
b. All al-Tirmidhi, and a contemporary of Abu Bakr Warrdq. 
Ibrahim Samarqandi was a pupil of his. It is related that 
he said : " All mankind are galloping on the race-courses of 

1 LB. have "Ahmad". 


heedlessness, relying upon idle fancies, while they suppose them 
selves to be versed in the Truth and to be speaking from Divine 
revelation." This saying alludes to natural self-conceit and to 
the pride of the soul. Men, though they are ignorant, have 
a firm belief in their ignorance, especially ignorant Sufis, who 
are the vilest creatures of God, just as wise Sufis are the noblest. 
The latter possess the Truth and are without conceit, whereas 
the former possess conceit and are without the Truth. They 
graze in the fields of heedlessness and imagine that it is the field 
of saintship. They rely on fancy and suppose it to be certainty. 
They go about with form and think it is reality. They speak 
from their own lust and think it is a Divine revelation. This 
they do because conceit is not expelled from a man s head save 
by vision of the majesty or the beauty of God : for in the 
manifestation of His beauty they see Him alone, and their 
conceit is annihilated, while in the revelation of His majesty 
they do not see themselves, and their conceit does not intrude. 


He was an intimate friend of Junayd, and also associated with 
Sahl b. Abdallah. He was learned in every branch of science 
and was the Imam of his day in jurisprudence, besides being 
well acquainted with theology. His rank in Sufiism was such 
that Junayd said to him : " Teach my pupils discipline and train 
them ! " He succeeded Junayd and sat in his chair. It is 
related that he said : " The permanence of faith and the sub 
sistence of religions and the health of bodies depend on three 
qualities : satisfaction (iktifd) and piety (ittiqd) and abstinence 
(ihtima) : if one is satisfied with God, his conscience becomes 
good ; and if one guards himself from what God has forbidden, 
his character becomes upright ; and if one abstains from what 
does not agree with him, his constitution is brought into good 
order. The fruit of satisfaction is pure knowledge of God, and 
the result of piety is excellence of moral character, and the end 
of abstinence is equilibrium of constitution." The Apostle said, 


" He that prays much by night, his face is fair by day," and he 
also said that the pious shall come at the Resurrection " with 
resplendent faces on thrones of light ". 


He was always held in great respect by his contemporaries. 
He was versed in the sciences of Koranic exegesis and criticism, 
and expounded the subtleties of the Koran with an eloquence 
and insight peculiar to himself. He was an eminent pupil of 
Junayd, and had associated with Ibrahim Mdristdni Abu 
Sa i d Kharraz regarded him with the utmost veneration, and 
used to declare that no one deserved the name of Sufi except 
him. It is related that he said : " Acquiescence in natural 
habits prevents a man from attaining to the exalted degrees 
of spirituality," because natural dispositions are the instruments 
and organs of the sensual part (nafs), which is the centre of 
" veiling " (Jiijdti), whereas the spiritual part (Jtaqiqai) is the 
centre of revelation. Natural dispositions become attached to 
two things : firstly, to this world and its accessories, and 
secondly, to the next world and its circumstances : to the 
former in virtue of homogeneousness, and to the latter 
through imagination and in virtue of heterogeneousness and 
non-cognition. Therefore they are attached to the notion of the 
next world, not to its true idea, for if they knew it in reality, 
they would break off connexion with this world, and nature 
would then have lost all her power and spiritual things would 
be revealed. There can be no harmony between the next 
world and human nature until the latter is annihilated, because 
" in the next world is that which the heart of man never 
conceived ". The worth (khatar) of the next world lies in the 
fact that the way to it is full of danger (khatar). A thing that 
only comes into one s thoughts (kJiaivdtir) has little worth ; 
and inasmuch as the imagination is incapable of knowing the 
reality of the next world, how can human nature become 
familiar with the true idea (*ayri) thereof? It is certain that 


our natural faculties can be acquainted only with the notion 
(pinddsht) of the next world. 


He was an enamoured and intoxicated votary of Sufiism. 
He had a strong ecstasy and a lofty spirit. The Sufi Shaykhs 
are at variance concerning him. Some reject him, while others 
accept him. Among the latter class are Amr b. Uthman al- 
Makkf, Abu Ya qub Nahrajuri, Abu Ya qub Aqta , All b. Sahl 
Isfahan/, and others. He is accepted, moreover, by Ibn Ata, 
Muhammad b. Khafif, Abu 1-Qasim Nasrabadi , and all the 
moderns. Others, again, suspend their judgment about him, 
e.g. Junayd and Shibli and Jurayri and Husri. Some accuse 
him of magic and matters coming under that head, but in our 
days the Grand Shaykh Abu Sa id b. Abi 1-Khayr and Shaykh 
Abu 1-Qasim Gurgani and Shaykh Abu !- Abbas Shaqani 
looked upon him with favour, and in their eyes he was a great 
man. The Master Abu 1-Qasim Qushayri remarks that if 
/ al-Hallaj was a genuine spiritualist he is not to be banned on 
the ground of popular condemnation, and if he was banned by 

*/ ^ 

? Sufiism and rejected by the Truth he is not to be approved on 
^/? the ground of popular approval. Therefore we leave him to 
the judgment of God, and honour him according to the tokens 
of the Truth which we have found him to possess. But of all 
these Shaykhs only a few deny the perfection of his_ merit and 
the purity of his spiritual state and the abundance of his 
ascetic practices. It would be an act of dishonesty to omit his 
~?> biography from this book. Some persons pronounce his outward 
behaviour to be that of an infidel, and disbelieve in him and 
charge him with trickery and magic, and suppose that Husayn 
b, Mansur Hallaj is that heretic of Baghdad who was the master 
of Muhammad b. Zakariyya l and the companion of Abu Sa id 
the Carmathian ; but this Husayn whose character is in dispute 
was a Persian and a native of Bayda, and his rejection by the 

1 The famous physician Abu Bakr Muhammad b. Zakariyya al-Rdzi, who died 
about 320 A.H. See Brockelmann, i, 233. 


Shaykhs was due, not to any attack on religion and doctrine, 
but to his conduct and behaviour. At first he was a pupil of 
Sahl b. Abdallah, whom he left, without asking permission, in 
order to attach himself to Amr b. Uthman Makki. Then he 
left Amr b. Uthman, again without asking permission, and 
sought to associate with Junayd, but Junayd would not receive 
him. This is the reason why he is banned by all the Shaykhs. 
Now, one who is banned on account of his conduct is not banned 
on account of his principles. Do_j^p_u_iigLjeje_Jiiat._Shiyi said : 
" Al-Hallaj and I are of one belief, but my madness saved me, 
while his intelligence destroyed him " ? Had his religion been 
suspected, Shibli would not have said : " Al-Hallaj and I are of 

one belief" And Muhammad b. Khafif said : " He is a divinely 

learned man " (^dlim-i rabbdnf). Al-Hallaj is the author of 
brilliant compositions and allegories and polished sayings in 
theology and jurisprudence. I have seen fifty works by him 
at Baghdad and in the neighbouring districts, and some in 
Khuzistan and Pars and Khurasan. All his sayings are like 
the first visions of novices ; some of them are stronger, some 
weaker, some easier, some more unseemly than others. When 
God bestows a vision on anyone, and he endeavours to 
describe what he has seen with the power of ecstasy and the 
help of Divine grace, his words are obscure, especially if he 
expresses himself with haste and self-admiration : then they 
are more repugnant to the imaginations, and incomprehensible 
to the minds, of those who hear them, and then people say, 
" This is a sublime utterance," either believing it or not, but 
equally ignorant of its meaning whether they believe or deny. 
On the other hand, when persons of true spirituality and insight 
have visions, they make no effort to describe them, and do not 
occupy themselves with self-admiration on that account, and 
are careless of praise and blame alike, and are undisturbed by 
denial and belief. 

It is absurd to charge al-Hallaj with being a magician. 
According to the principles of Muhammadan orthodoxy, magic 
is real, just as miracles are real ; but the manifestation of magic 


in the state of perfection is infidelity, whereas the manifestation 
of miracles in the state of perfection is knowledge of God 
(ma rifat), because the former is the result of God s anger, while 
the latter is the corollary of His being well pleased. I will 
explain this more fully in the chapter on the affirmation of 
miracles. By consent of all Sunnites who are endowed with 
perspicacity, no Moslem can be a magician and no infidel can 
be held in honour, for contraries never meet. Husayn, as long 
as he lived, wore the garb of piety, consisting in prayer and 
praise of God and continual fasts and fine sayings on the subject 
of Unification. If his actions were magic, all this could not 
possibly have proceeded from him. Consequently, they must 
have been miracles, and miracles are vouchsafed only to a true 
saint. Some orthodox theologians reject him on the ground 
that his sayings are pantheistic (ba-ma ni-yi imtizdj ti ittihdd), 
but the offence lies solely in the expression, not in the meaning. 
A person overcome with rapture has not the power of expressing 
himself correctly ; besides, the meaning of the expression may 
be difficult to apprehend, so that people mistake the writer s 
intention, and repudiate, not his real meaning, but a notion 
which they have formed for themselves. I have seen at Baghdad 
and in the adjoining districts a number of heretics who pretend 
to be the followers of al-Hallaj and make his sayings an 
argument for their heresy (zandaqd) and call themselves Hallajis. 
They spoke of him in the same terms of exaggeration (ghuluww) 
as the Rafidis (Shi ites) apply to AH. I will refute their doctrines 
in the chapter concerning the different Sufi sects. In conclusion, 
you must know that the sayings of al-Hallaj should not be taken 
as a model, inasmuch as he was an ecstatic (maghlub andar kdl-i 
khud), not firmly settled (mutamakkin\ and a man needs to be 
_y v firmly settled before his sayings can be considered authoritative. 
Therefore, although he is dear to my heart, yet his " path " is 
not soundly established on any principle, and his state is not 
fixed in any position, and his experiences are largely mingled 
with error. When my own visions began I derived much 
support from him, that is to say, in the way of evidences 


(bardhtJt). At an earlier time I composed a book in explanation 
of his sayings and demonstrated their sublimity by proofs and 
arguments. Furthermore, in another work, entitled Minhdj\ 
I have spoken of his life from beginning to end ; and now 
I have given some account of him in this place. How can 
a doctrine whose principles require to be corroborated with so 
much caution be followed and imitated ? Truth and idle fancy 
never agree. He is continually seeking to fasten upon some 
erroneous theory. It is related that he said : Al-alsinat mustan- 
tiqdt takta nutqihd mustahlikdt, 1 i.e. " speaking tongues are the 
destruction of silent hearts". Such expressions are entirely 
mischievous. Expression of the meaning of reality is futile, 
If the Ineaning exists it is not lost by expression, and if it is 
non-existent it is not created by expression. Expression only 
produces an unreal notion and leads the student mortally astray 
by causing him to imagine that the expression is the real 


He attained a high degree in the doctrine of trust in God 
(iawakkul). He met many Shaykhs, and many signs and 
miracles were vouchsafed to him. He is the author of excellent 
works on the ethics of Sufiism. It is related that he said : " All 
knowledge is comprised in two sentences : do not trouble your 
self with anything that is done for you, and do not neglect 
anything that you are bound to do for yourself, " i.e., do not 
trouble yourself with destiny, for what is destined from eternity 
will not be changed by your efforts, and do not neglect His 
commandment, for you will be punished if you neglect it. He 
was asked what wonders he had seen. " Many wonders," he 
replied, "but the most wonderful was that the Apostle Khidr 
begged me to let him associate with me, and I refused. Not 
that I desired any better companion, but I feared that I should 
depend on him rather than on God, and that my trust in God 

1 Literally, " The tongues desire to speak, (but) under their speech they desire 
to perish." 


would be impaired by consorting with him, and that in 
consequence of performing a work of supererogation I should 
fail to perform a duty incumbent on me." This is the degree 
of perfection. 

He^ jvas one of the principal Sufi scholastic theologians 
(inutakallimdii). He was a pupil of Harith Muhasibi, and 
associated with Sari and was contemporary with Nun and 
Khayr Nassaj. He used to preach in the Rusafa mosque at 
Baghdad. He was versed in Koranic exegesis and criticism, 
and related Apostolic Traditions on trustworthy authority. It 
was he who was with Nun when the latter was persecuted and 
when God delivered the Sufis from death. I will tell this story 
in the place where Nun s doctrine is explained. It is recorded 
that Abu Hamza said : "If thy self (nafs) is safe from thee, 
thou hast done all that is due to it; and if mankind are safe 
from thee, thou hast paid all that is due to them," i.e., there are 
two obligations, one which thou owest to thy "self" and one 
which thou owest to others. If thou refrain thy "self" from 
sin and seek for it the path of future salvation, thou hast 
fulfilled thy obligation towards it ; and if thou make others 
secure from thy wickedness and do not wish to injure them, 
thou hast fulfilled thy obligation towards them. Endeavour 
that no evil may befall thy "self" or others from thee: then 
occupy thyself with fulfilling thy obligation to God. 

He was a profound theosophist, praiseworthy in the eyes of 
all the Shaykhs. He was one of the early disciples of Junaycl. 
His abstruse manner of expression caused his sayings to be 
regarded with suspicion by formalists (zdhiriydii). He found 
peace in no city until he came to Merv. The inhabitants of 
Merv welcomed him on account of his amiable disposition for 
he was a virtuous man and listened to his sayings ; and he 
passed his life there. It is related that he said : "Those who 
remember their praise of God (dhikr) are more heedless than 


those who forget their praise," because if anyone forgets the 
praise, it is no matter ; but it does matter if he remembers 
the praise and forgets God. Praise is not the same thing as the 
object of praise. Neglect of the object of praise combined with 
thought of the praise approximates to heedlessness more closely 
than neglect of the praise without thought. He who forgets, in 
his forgetfulness and absence, does not think that he is present 
(with God), but he who remembers, in his remembrance and 
absence from the object of praise, thinks that he is present (with 
God). Accordingly, to think that one is present when one is 
not present comes nearer to heedlessness than to be absent 
without thinking that one is present, for conceit (pinddsht) is 
the ruin of those who seek the Truth. The more conceit, 
the less reality, and vice versa. Conceit really springs from the 
suspiciousness (tuhniaf) of the intellect, which is produced by the 
insatiable desire (nahuiat) of the lower soul ; and holy aspiration 
(hirnmaf) has nothing in common with either of these qualities. 
The fundamental principle of remembrance of God (d/iikr) is 
either in absence (gJiaybaf) or in presence (Jiudur). When 
anyone is absent from himself and present with God, that state 
is not presence, but contemplation (mushdhadaf] ; and when 
anyone is absent from God and present with himself, that state 
is not remembrance of God (dktkr), but absence ; and absence is 
the result of heedlessness (ghaflaf). The truth is best known 
to God. 


He was a great and celebrated Shaykh. He had a blameless 
spiritual life and enjoyed perfect communion with God. He 
was subtle in the use of symbolism, wherefore one of the moderns 
says: "The wonders of the world are three: the symbolical 
utterances (isJidrdf) of Shibli, and the mystical sayings (nukaf) 
of Murta ish, and the anecdotes (hikdydf) of Ja far." L At first 
he was chief chamberlain to the Caliph, but he was converted 
in the assembly-room (inajlis) of Khayr al-Nassaj and became 

1 See No. 58. 


a disciple of Junayd. He made the acquaintance of a large 
number of Shaykhs. It is related that he explained the verse 
" Tell the believers to refrain their eyes " (Kor. xxiv, 30) as follows : 
" O Muhammad, tell the believers to refrain their bodily eyes 
from what is unlawful, and to refrain their spiritual eyes from 
everything except God," i.e. not to look at lust and to have no 
thought except the vision of God. It is a mark of heedlessness 
to follow one s lusts and to regard unlawful things, and the 
greatest calamity that befalls the heedless is that they are 
ignorant of their own faults ; for anyone who is ignorant here 
shall also be ignorant hereafter : " Those who are blind in this 
world shall be blind in the next world" (Kor. xvii, 74). In truth, 
until God clears the desire of lust out of a man s heart the 
bodily eye is not safe from its hidden dangers, and until God 
establishes the desire of Himself in a man s heart the spiritual 
eye is not safe from looking at other than Him. 

It is related that one day when Shibli came into the bazaar, 
the people said, " This is a madman." He replied : " You think 
I am mad, and I think you are sensible : may God increase my 
madness and your sense ! " i.e., inasmuch as my madness is the 
result of intense love of God, while your sense is the result of 
great heedlessness, may God increase my madness in order that 
I may become nearer and nearer to Him, and may He increase 
your sense in order that you may become farther and farther 
from Him. This he said from jealousy (ghayraf) that anyone 
should be so beside one s self as not to separate love of God 
from madness and not to distinguish between them in this 
world or the next. 


He is the well-known biographer of the Saints. One of the 
most eminent and oldest of Junayd s pupils, he was profoundly 
versed in the various branches of Sufiism and paid the utmost 
respect to the Shaykhs. He has many sublime sayings. In 
order to avoid spiritual conceit, he attributed to different 
persons the anecdotes which he composed in illustration of 


each topic. It is related that he said : " Trust in God is 
equanimity whether you find anything or no," i.e., you are 
not made glad by having daily bread or sorrowful by not 
having it, because it is the property of the Lord, who has 
a better right than you either to preserve or to destroy : do 
not interfere, but let the Lord dispose of His own. Ja far 
relates that he went to Junayd and found him suffering from 
a fever. " O Master," he cried, " tell God in order that He may 
restore thee to health." Junayd said : " Last night I was about 
to tell Him, but a voice whispered in my heart, Thy body 
belongs to Me : I keep it well or ill, as I please. Who art 
thou, that thou shouldst interfere with My property. " 

He was a great Sufi and of royal descent. Many signs and 

virtues were vouchsafed to him. He discoursed lucidly on the 
arcana of Sufiism. It is related that he said : " He who desires 
(murid) desires for himself only what God desires for him, and 
he who is desired (murdcC] does not desire anything in this 
world or the next except God." Accordingly, he who is satisfied 
with the will of God must abandon his own will in order that he 
may desire, whereas the lover has no will of his own that he 
should have any object of desire. He who desires God desires 
only what God desires, and he whom God desires desires only 
God. Hence satisfaction (rida} is one of the " stations " 
(maqdmdf) of the beginning, and love (uiakabbaf) is one of the 
" states " (ahwdl) of the end. The " stations " are connected 
with the realization of servantship (^ubudiyyat\ while ecstasy 
(mashrab) leads to the corroboration of Lordship (rubiibiyyaf). 
This being so, the desirer (murid) subsists in himself, and the 
desired (inurdd] subsists in God. 

He associated with Abu Bakr Wasiti and derived instruction 

from many Shaykhs. He was the most accomplished (azraf) 
of the Sufis in companionship (suhbaf} and the most sparing 

1 Nafahdt, No. 167, has "Qdsim b. al-Qa"sim al-Mahdf ". 


(azhad] of them in friendship (ulfaf). He is the author of lofty 
sayings and praiseworthy compositions. It is related that he 
said: " Unification (al- taw hid) is this : that nothing should occur 
to your mind except God." He belonged to a learned and 
influential family of Merv. Having inherited a large fortune 
from his father, he gave the whole of it in return for two of 
the Apostle s hairs. Through the blessing of those hairs God 
bestowed on him a sincere repentance. He fell into the 
company of Abu Bakr Wasiti, and attained such a high degree 
that he became the leader of a Sufi sect. When he was on the 
point of death, he gave directions that those hairs should be 
placed in his mouth. His tomb is still to be seen at Merv, and 
people come thither to seek what they desire ; and their prayers 
are granted. 

He was the Imam of his age in diverse sciences. He was 
renowned for his mortifications and for his convincing eluci 
dation of mystical truths. His spiritual attainments are clearly 
shown by his compositions. He was acquainted with Ibn ( Atd 
and Shiblf and Husayn b. Mansur and Jurayrf, and associated 
at Mecca with Abu Ya qub Nahrajuri. He made excellent 
journeys in detachment from the world (tajrid). He was of 
royal descent, but God bestowed on him repentance, so that he 
turned his back on the glories of this world. He is held in high 
esteem by spiritualists. It is related that he said : " Unification 
consists in turning away from nature," because the natures of 
mankind are all veiled from the bounties and blind to the 
beneficence of God. Hence no one can turn to God until he 
has turned away from nature, and the " natural " man (sahib 
tab 1 } is unable to apprehend the reality of Unification, which is 
revealed to you only when you see the corruption of your 
own nature. 

He was an eminent spiritualist of the class who have attained 
" fixity " (ahl-i tamkin)^ and was profoundly versed in various 


departments of knowledge. He practised austerities, and is 
the author of many notable sayings and excellent proofs con 
cerning the observation of spiritual blemishes (ru"yat-i dfdf). 
It is related that he said : " Whenever anyone prefers association 
with the rich to sitting with the poor God afflicts him with 
spiritual death." The terms " association " (suhbaf) and " sitting 
with " (inujdlasat) are employed, because a man turns away from 
the poor only when he has sat with them, not when he has 
associated with them ; for there is no turning away in associa 
tion. When he leaves off sitting with the poor in order to 
associate with the rich, his heart becomes dead to supplication 
(iiiydz) and his body is caught in the toils of covetousness (dz). 
Since the result of turning away from imijdlasat is spiritual 
death, how should there be any turning away from suhbat ? 
The two terms are clearly distinguished from each other in 
this saying. 



He was like a king in Nishapur, save that the glory of kings 
is in this world, while his was in the next world. Original 
sayings and exalted signs were vouchsafed to him. Himself 
a pupil of Shibli, he was the master of the later Shaykhs of 
Khurasan. He was the most learned and devout man of his 
age. It is recorded that he said: "Thou art between two 
relationships : one to Adam, the other to God. If thou claim 
relationship to Adam, thou wilt enter the arenas of lust and the 
places of corruption and error ; for by this claim thou seekest to 
realize thy humanity (bashariyyaf). God hath said : Verily, he 
was unjust and foolish (Kor. xxxiii, 72). If, however, thou 
claim relationship to God, thou wilt enter the stations of 
revelation and evidence and protection (from sin) and saint- 
ship ; for by this c aim thou seekest to realize thy servantship 
( l ubudiyya). God hath said : * The servants of the Merciful are 
those who walk on the earth meekly (Kor. xxv, 64)." Relation 
ship to Adam ends at the Resurrection, whereas the relationship 


of being a servant of God subsists always and is unalterable. 
When a man refers himself to himself or to Adam, the utmost 
that he can reach is to say : " Verily, I have injured myself " 
(Kor. xxviii, 15) ; but when he refers himself to God, the son 
of Adam is in the same case as those of whom God hath said : 
"O My servants, there is no fear for you this day" (Kor. xliii, 68). 


He is one of the great Imams of the Sufis and was unrivalled 
in his time. He has lofty sayings and admirable explanations 
in all spiritual matters. It is related that he said : " Leave me 
alone in my affliction ! Are not ye children of Adam, whom 
God formed with His own hand and breathed a spirit into 
him and caused the angels to bow down to him ? Then He 
commanded him to do something, and he disobeyed. If the 
first of the wine-jar is dregs, what will its last be?" That is to 
say : " When a man is left to himself he is all disobedience, but 
when Divine favour comes to his help he is all love. Now 
regard the beauty of Divine favour and compare with it the 
ugliness of thy behaviour, and pass thy whole life in this." 

I have mentioned some of the ancient Sufis whose example 
is authoritative. If I had noticed them all and had set forth 
their lives in detail and had included the anecdotes respecting 
them, my purpose would not have been accomplished, and this 
book would have run to great length. Now I will add some 
account of the modern Sufis. 


You must know that in_our days there are some persons who 
cannot endure the burden of discipline (riyddaf), and seek 
authority (riydsaf) without discipline, and think that all Sufis 
are like themselves ; and when they hear the sayings of those 
who have passed away and see their eminence and read of their 
devotional practices they examine themselves, and finding that 
they are far inferior to the Shaykhs of old they no longer 
attempt to emulate them, but say : " We are not as they, and 
there is none like them in our time." Their assertion is absurd, 
for God never leaves the earth without a proof (fitijjaf) or the 
Moslem community without a saint, as the Apostle said : " One 
sect of my people shall continue in goodness and truth until the 
hour of the Resurrection." And he said also : " There shall in my people forty who have the nature of Abraham." 

Some of those whom I shall mention in this chapter are 
already deceased, and some are still living. 

He associated with the leading Shaykhs of Transoxania. He 
was famed for his lofty spiritual endowments, his true sagacity, 
his abundant evidences, ascetic practices, and miracles. Abu 
Abdallah Khayyati, the Imam of Tabaristan, says of him: "It 
is one of God s bounties that He has made a person who was 
never taught able to answer our questions about any difficulty 
touching the principles of religion and the subtleties of Unifica 
tion." Although Abu !- Abbas Qassab was illiterate (urn mi), he 
discoursed in sublime fashion concerning the science of Sufiism 
and theology. I have heard many stories of him, but my rule 
in this book is brevity. One day a camel, with a heavy burden, 



was going through the market-place at Amul, which is always 
muddy. The camel fell and broke its leg. While the lad in 
charge of it was lamenting and lifting his hands to implore the 
help of God, and the people were about to take the load off its 
back, the Shaykh passed by, and asked what was the matter. 
On being informed, he seized the camel s bridle and turned his 
face to the sky and said : " O Lord ! make the leg of this camel 
whole. If Thou wilt not do so, why hast Thou let my heart be 
melted by the tears of a lad ? " The camel immediately got up 
and went on its way. 

It is stated that he said : " All mankind, whether they will or 
no, must reconcile themselves to God, or else they will suffer 
pain," because, when you are reconciled to Him in affliction, you 
see only the Author of affliction, and the affliction itself does 
not come ; and if you are not reconciled to Him, affliction comes 
and your heart is filled with anguish. God having predestined 
our satisfaction and dissatisfaction, does not alter His pre 
destination : therefore our satisfaction with His decrees is a part 
of our pleasure. Whenever anyone reconciles himself to Him, 
that man s heart is rejoiced ; and whenever anyone turns away 
from Him, that man is distressed by the coming of destiny. 


He was the leading authority in his department (of science) 
and had no rival among his contemporaries. He was lucid in 
exposition and eloquent in speech as regards the revelation of 
the way to God. He had seen many Shaykhs and associated 
with them. He was a pupil of Nasrabadi l and used to be 
a preacher (tadhkir kardt). It is related that he said : " Whoever 
becomes intimate with anyone except God is weak in his 
(spiritual) state, and whoever speaks of anyone except God is 
false in his speech," because intimacy with anyone except God 
springs from not knowing God sufficiently, and intimacy with 
Him is friendlessness in regard to others, and the friendless man 
does not speak of others. 

1 See Chapter XI, No. 63. 


I heard an old man relate that one day he went to the 
place where al-Daqqaq held his meetings, with the intention 
of asking him about the state of those who trust in God 
(inutawakkildri). Al-Daqqaq was wearing a fine turban manu 
factured in Tabaristan, which the old man coveted. He said 
to al-Daqqaq : " What is trust in God ? " The Shaykh replied : 
" To refrain from coveting people s turbans." With these words 
he flung his turban in front of the questioner. 


He was a great Shaykh and was praised by all the Saints in 
his time. Shaykh Abu Sa id visited him, and they conversed 
with each other on every topic. When he was about to take 
leave he said to al-Khurqani : " I choose you to be my 
successor." I have heard from Hasan Mu addib, who was the 
servant of Abu Sa id, that when Abu Sa id came into the 
presence of al-Khurqani, he did not speak another word, but 
listened and only spoke by way of answering what was said by 
the latter. Hasan asked him why he had been so silent. He 
replied : " One interpreter is enough for one theme." And 
I heard the Master, Abu 1-Qasim Qushayri, say : "When I came 
to Khurqan, my eloquence departed and I no longer had any 
power to express myself, on account of the veneration with 
which that spiritual director inspired me ; and I thought that 
I had been deposed from my own saintship." 

It is_related that he said : " There are two ways, one wrong 
and one right. The wrong way is Man s way to God, and the 
right way is God s way to Man. Whoever says he has attained 
to God has not attained ; but when anyone says that he has 
been made to attain to God, know that he has really attained." 
It is not a question of attaining or not attaining, and of 
salvation or non-salvation, but one of being caused to attain or 
not to attain, and of being given salvation or being not given 




He resided at Bistam, He was learned in various brandies 
of science, and is the author of polished discourses and fine 
symbolical indications. He found an excellent successor in 
Shaykh Sahlagi, who was the Imam of those parts. I have 
heard from Sahlagi some of his spiritual utterances (anfds\ 
which are very sublime and admirable. He says, for example : 
" Unification, coming from thee, is existent (maivjiid), but thou 
in unification art non-existent (mafqud}" i.e. unification, when 
it proceeds from thee, is faultless (dnrusi), but thou art faulty 
in unification, because thou dost not fulfil its requirements. The 
lowest degree in unification is the negation of thy personal 
control over anything that thou hast, and the affirmation of 
thy absolute submission to God in all thy affairs. Shaykh 
Sahlagi relates as follows : " Once the locusts came to Bistam 
in such numbers that every tree and field was black with them. 
The people cried aloud for help. The Shaykh asked me: 
What is all this pother? I told him that the locusts had 
come and that the people were distressed in consequence. He 
rose and went up to the roof and looked towards heaven. The 
locusts immediately began to fly away. By the hour of the 
afternoon prayer not one was left, and nobody lost even a blade 
of grass." 


He was the sultan of his age and the ornament of the 
Mystic Path. All his contemporaries were subject to him, 
some through their sound perception, and some through their 
excellent belief, and some through the strong influence of their 
spiritual feelings. He was versed in the different branches 
of science. He had a wonderful religious experience and an 
extraordinary power of reading men s secret thoughts. Besides 
this he had many remarkable powers and evidences, of which the 
effects are manifest at the present day. In early life he left Mihna 
(Mayhana) and came to Sarakhs in order to study. He attached 


himself to Abu All Zahir, from whom he learned in one day as 
much as is contained in three lectures, and he used to spend in 
devotion the three days that he had saved in this manner. The 
saint of Sarakhs at that time was Abu 1-Fadl Hasan. One day, 
when Abu Sa id was walking by the river of Sarakhs, Abu 1- 
Fadl met him and said : " Your way is not that which you 
are taking : take your own way." The Shaykh did not attach 
himself to him, but returned to his native town and engaged in 
asceticism and austerities until God opened to him the door of 
guidance and raised him to the highest rank. I heard the 
following story from Shaykh Abu Muslim Farisi : " I had 
always," he said, "bean on unfriendly terms with the Shaykh. 
Once I set out to pay him a visit. My patched frock was so 
dirty that it had become like leather. When I entered his 
presence, I found him sitting on a couch, dressed in a robe of 
Egyptian linen. I said to myself: This man claims to be 
a dervish (faqir] with all these worldly encumbrances {^ald iq}, 
while I claim to be a dervish with all this detachment from the 
world (tajrid). How can I agree with this man ? He read 
my thoughts, and raising his head cried : O Abu Muslim, 
in what diwdn have you found that the name of dervish is 
applied to anyone whose heart subsists in the contemplation 
of God? i.e. those who contemplate God are rich in God> 
whereas dervishes (fuqara) are occupied with self-mortification. 
I repented of my conceit and asked God to pardon me for such 
an unseemly thought." 

And it is related that he said : " Sufiism is the subsistence of 
the heart with God without any mediation." This alludes to 
contemplation (inushdhadat\ which is violence of love, and 
absorption of human attributes in realizing the vision of God, 
and their annihilation by the everlastingness of God. I will 
discuss Ke~hature of contemplation in the chapter which treats 
of the Pilgrimage. 

On one occasion Abu Sa id set out from Ni shapur towards 
Tus. While he was passing through a mountainous ravine his 
feet felt cold in his boots. A dervish who was then with him 


says : " I thought of tearing my waist-cloth (fiita) into two 
halves and wrapping them round his feet ; but I could not 
bring myself to do it, as my futa was a very fine one. When 
we arrived at Tus I attended his meeting and asked him to 
tell me the difference between suggestions of the Devil (waswds) 
and Divine inspiration (i/hdni). He answered: k lt was a Divine 
inspiration that urged you to tear your futa into two pieces for 
the sake of warming my feet; and it was a diabolic suggestion 
that hindered you from doing so. " He performed a whole series 
of miracles of this kind which are wrought by spiritual adepts. 


He is the teacher whom I follow in Sufiism. He was versed 
in the science of Koranic exegesis and in traditions (riwdydt). 
In Sufiism he held the doctrine of Junayd. He was a pupil of 
Husri T and a companion of Sirawani, and was contemporary 
with Abu Amr Qazwini and Abu 1-Hasan b. Saliba. He spent 
sixty years in sincere retirement from the world, for the most 
part on Mount Lukam. He displayed many signs and proofs 
(of saintship), but he did not wear the garb or adopt the 
external fashions of the Sufis, and he used to treat formalists 
with severity. I never saw any man who inspired me with greater 
awe than he did. It is related that he sai d : " The world is but 
a single day, in which we are fasting," i.e., we get nothing from 
it, and are not occupied with it, because we have perceived its 
corruption and its "veils "and have turned our backs upon it. 
Once I was pouring water on his hands in order that he might 
purify himself. The thought occurred to me : " Inasmuch as 
everything is predestined, why should free men make them 
selves the slaves of spiritual directors in the hope of having 
miracles vouchsafed to them ? " The Shaykh said : "O my son, 
I know what you are thinking. Be assured that there is a cause 
for every decree of Providence. When God wishes to bestow 
a crown and a kingdom on a guardsman s son ( awdn-backa), 
He gives him repentance and employs him in the service of one 

1 See Chapter XI, No. 64. 


of His friends, in order that this service may be the means of 
his obtaining the gift of miracles." Many such fine sayings he 
uttered to me every day. He died at Bayt al-Jinn, a village 
situated at the head of a mountain pass between Baniyas l and 
the river of Damascus. While he lay on his death-bed, his head 
resting on my bosom (and at that time I was feeling hurt, as 
men often do, by the behaviour of a friend of mine), he said to 
me: " O my son, I will tell thee one article of belief which, if 
thou boldest it firmly, will deliver thee from all troubles. 
Whatever good or evil God creates, do not in any place or 
circumstance quarrel with His action or be aggrieved in thy 
heart." He gave no further injunction, but yielded up his soul. 


In his time he was a wonder. His rank is high and his 
position is great, and his spiritual life and manifold virtues are 
well known to the people of the present age. He is the author 
of many fine sayings and exquisite works, all of them profoundly 
theosophical, in every branch of science. God rendered his 
feelings and his tongue secure from anthropomorphism (hashw}. 
I have heard that he said : " The Sufi is like the disease called 
birsdm, which begins with delirium and ends in silence ; for 
when you have attained * fixity you are dumb." Sufiism 
(safwaf) has two sides : ecstasy (wajif) and visions (nuintid). 
Visions belong to novices, and the expression of such visions 
is delirium (hadhaydri). Ecstasy belongs to adepts, and the 
expression of ecstasy, while the ecstasy continues, is impossible. 
So long as they are only seekers they utter lofty aspirations, 
which seem delirium even to those who aspire (aJil-i himmat\ 
but when they have attained they cease, and no more express 
anything either by word or sign. Similarly, since Moses was 
a beginner (nmbtadi) all his desire was for vision of God ; he 
expressed his desire and said, " O Lord, sJwiv me that I may 
behold Thee" (Kor. vii, 139). This expression of an unattained 

1 L. Baniyan, IJ. Maniyan. 


desire seemed like delirium. Our Apostle, however, was an 
adept (muntahi) and firmly established (mutamakkin). When 
his person arrived at the station of desire his desire was annihi 
lated, and he said, " I cannot praise Thee duly." 


He was an Imam in every branch of the fundamental and 
derivative sciences, and consummate in all respects. He had 
met a great number of eminent Sufis. His doctrine was based 
on " annihilation " (fand), and his recondite manner of expression 
was peculiarly his own ; but I have seen some fools who 
imitated it and adopted his ecstatic phrases (shathha). It is 
not laudable to imitate even a spiritual meaning : mark, then, 
how wrong it must be to imitate a mere expression ! I was 
very intimate with him, and he had a sincere affection for me. 
He was my teacher in some sciences. During my whole life 
I have never seen anyone, of any sect, who held the religious 
law in greater veneration than he. He was detached from all 
created things, and only an Imam of profound insight could 
derive instruction from him, on account of the subtlety of his 
theological expositions. He always had a natural disgust of 
this world and the next, and was constantly exclaiming : 
Aslitahi adam Id wujud lahu, " I long for a non-existence 
that has no existence." And he used to say in Persian : 
" Every man has an impossible desire, and I too have an 
impossible desire, which I surely know will never be realized, 
namely, that God should bring me to a non-existence that 
will never return to existence." He wished this because 
"stations" and miracles are all centres of veiling (i.e. they 
veil man from God). Man has fallen in love with that which 
veils him. Non-existence in desire of vision is better than 
taking delight in veils. Inasmuch as Almighty God is a 
Being that is not subject to not-being, what loss would His 
kingdom suffer if I become a nonentity that shall never be 
endowed with existence ? This is a sound principle in a real 



(may God prolong his life for the benefit of us and of all 

Moslems !). 

In his time he was unique and incomparable. His beginning 
(ibtidd) was very excellent and strong, and his journeys were 
performed with punctilious observance (of the sacred law). At 
that time the hearts of all initiates (aJil-i dargdJi) were 
turned towards him, and all seekers (tdlibdn] had a firm belief 
in him. He possessed a marvellous power of revealing the 
inward experiences of novices (kashf-i wdqi a-i muriddii), and 
he was learned in various branches of knowledge. All his 
disciples are ornaments of the society in which they move. 
Please God, he will have an excellent successor, whose authority 
the whole body of Sufis will recognize, namely, Abu All al- 
Fadl b. Muhammad al-Farmadhi (may God lengthen his 
days I), 1 who has not omitted to fulfil his duty towards his 
master, and has turned his back on all (worldly) things, and 
through the blessings of that (renunciation) has been made 
by God the spiritual mouthpiece (zabdn-i hdl) of that venerable 

One day I was seated in the Shaykh s presence and was 
recounting to him my experiences and visions, in order that 
he might test them, for he had unrivalled skill in this. He 
was listening kindly to what I said. The vanity and enthusiasm 
of youth made me eager to relate those matters, and the 
thought occurred to me that perhaps the Shaykh, in his 
novitiate, did not enjoy such experiences, or he would not 
show so much humility towards me and be so anxious to 
inquire concerning my spiritual state. The Shaykh perceived 
what I was thinking. " My dear friend," he said, " you must 
know that my humility is not on account of you or your 
experiences, but is shown towards Him who brings experiences 
to pass. They are not peculiar to yourself, but common to all 
seekers of God." On hearing him say this I was utterly taken 

1 Nafahat, No. 428. 


aback. He saw my confusion and said : " O my son, Man 
has no further relation to this Path except that, when he is 
attached to it, he imagines that he has found it, and when he 
is deposed from it he clothes his imagination in words. Hence 
both his negation and his affirmation, both his non-existence 
and existence, are imagination. Man never escapes from the 
prison of imagination. It behoves him to stand like a slave 
at the door and put away from himself every relation (nisbaf) 
except that of manhood and obedience." Afterwards I had 
much spiritual conversation with him, but if I were to enter 
upon the task of setting forth his extraordinary powers my 
purpose would be defeated. 


While he was seated on the cushion of authority (riydsat)* 
God opened to him the door of this mystery (Sufiisiti) and 
bestowed on him the crown of miracles. He spoke eloquently 
and discoursed with sublimity on annihilation and subsistence 
(fand u baqd}. The Grand Shaykh, Abu Sa i d, said : " I was 
led to the court (of God) by the way of servantship (bandagi), 
but Khwaja Muzaffar was conducted thither by the way of lord 
ship and dominion (khwdjagf)? i.e. "I attained contemplation 
(mushdhadaf) by means of self-mortification (mujdhaddt\ whereas 
he came from contemplation to self-mortification ". I have heard 
that he said : " That which great mystics have discovered by 
traversing deserts and wildernesses I have gained in the seat of 
power and pre-eminence (bdlish it sadr)" Some foolish and 
conceited persons have attributed this saying of his to arrogance, 
but it is never arrogant to declare one s true state, especially 
when the speaker is a spiritualist. At the present time Muzaffar 
has an excellent and honoured successor in Khwaja Ahmad. 
One day, when I was in his company, a certain pretender of 
Nishapur happened to use the expression : " He becomes 
annihilated and then becomes subsistent." Khwaja Muzaffar 
said: "How can subsistence (baqd) be predicated of annihilation 
(fand) ? Annihilation means not-being , while subsistence 


refers to being : each term negates the other. We know what 
annihilation is, but when it is not, if it becomes being , its 
identity (fayn} is lost. Essences are not capable of annihilation. 
Attributes, however, can be annihilated, and so can secondary 
causes. Therefore, when attributes and secondary causes are 
annihilated, the Object invested with attributes and the Author 
of secondary causes continues to subsist : His essence does not 
admit of annihilation." I do not recollect the precise words in 
which Muzaffar expressed his meaning, but this was the purport 
of them. Now I will explain more clearly what he intended, 
in order that it may be more generally understood. A man s 
will (ikhtiydr) is an attribute of himself, and he is veiled by his 
will from the will of God. Therefore a man s attributes veil 
him from God. Necessarily, the Divine will is eternal and 
the human will phenomenal, and what is eternal cannot be 
annihilated. When the Divine will in regard to a man becomes 
subsistent (baqd ydbad\ his will is annihilated and his personal 
initiative disappears. But God knows best. 

One day I came into his presence, when the weather was 
extremely hot, wearing a traveller s dress and with my hair in 
disorder. He said to me : " Tell me what you wish at this 
moment." I replied that I wished to hear some music (samd }. 
He immediately sent for a singer (qawwdl) and a number of 
musicians. Being young and enthusiastic and filled with the 
ardour of a novice, I became deeply agitated as the strains of 
the music fell on my ear. After a while, when my transports 
subsided, he asked me how I liked it. I told him that I had 
enjoyed it very much. He answered : " A time will come when 
this music will be no more to you than the croaking of a raven. 
The influence of music only lasts so long as there is no 
contemplation, and as soon as contemplation is attained music 
has no power. Take care not to accustom yourself to this, lest 
it grow part of your nature and keep you back from higher 




I have not space enough to give biographies of them all, and 
if I omit some the object of this book will not be accomplished. 
Now, therefore, I will mention only the names of individual 
Sufis and leading spiritualists who have lived in my time or are 
still alive, excluding the formalists (ahl-i rustini). 


Shaykh Zaki b. al- Ala was an eminent Shaykh. I found 
him to be like a flash of love. He was endowed with wonderful 
signs and evidences. 

Shaykh Abu Ja far Muhammad b. al-Misbah al-Saydalani 
was one of the principal aspirants to Sufiism. He discoursed 
eloquently on theosophy and had a great fondness for Husayn 
b. Mansur (al-Hallaj), some of whose works I have read to him. 

Shaykh Abu 1-Qasim Suddi 1 was a director who mortified 
himself and led an excellent spiritual life. He cared tenderly 
for dervishes and had a goodly belief in them. 


The Grand Shaykh, Abu 1-Hasan b. Saliba, 2 spoke with the 
utmost elegance on Sufiism and with extreme lucidity on 
Unification (tawJud], His sayings are well known. 

The Shaykh and Director (inurshid) Abu Ishaq b. Shahriyar 
was one of the most venerable Sufis and had complete authority. 

Shaykh Abu 1-Hasan Ah b. Hakran was a great mntasawwif, 
and Shaykh Abu Muslim was highly esteemed in his time. 

1 IJ. Sudsi, B. Sundusi. 

2 See Nafahdt, No. 347, where he is called Abu 1-Husayn Saliba. 


Shaykh Abu ; l-Fath b. Saliba is an excellent and hopeful 
successor to his father. 

Shaykh Abu Talib was a man enraptured by the words of 

the Truth. 

I have seen all these except the Grand Shaykh, Abu Ishaq. 


Shaykh Faraj, 2 known as Akhi Zanjam, was a man of. 
excellent disposition and admirable doctrine. 

Shaykh Badr al-Dm is one of the great men of this sect, and 
his good deeds are many. 

Padshah-i Ta ib was profoundly versed in mysticism. 

Shaykh Abu Abdallah Junaydf was a revered director. 

Shaykh Abu Tahir Makshuf was one of the eminent of 
that time. 

Khwaja Husayn Simnan is an enraptured and hopeful man. 

Shaykh Sahlagi was one of the principal Sufi paupers (sa l dlik\ 

Ahmad, son of Shaykh Khurqani, was an excellent successor 
to his father. 

Adi b Kumandi was one of the chief men of the time. 


Khwaja All b. al-Husayn al-Sirgani was the wandering 
devotee (sayydJf) of his age and made excellent journeys. His 
son, Hakim, is held in honour. 

Shaykh Muhammad b. Salama was among the eminent of the 
time. Before him there have been hidden saints of God, and 
hopeful youths and striplings are still to be found. 

5. KHURASAN (where now is the shadow of God s favour). 

The Shaykh and Mujtahid Abu l- Abbas was the heart ot 
spiritualism (sirr-i ma dni) and had a goodly life. 

Khwaja Abu Ja far Muhammad b. All al-Hawari is one of 
the eminent theosophists of this sect. 

Khwaja Abu Ja far Turshizi was highly esteemed. 

1 B. Kumish. 2 The texts have c y or ^j , but see Nafahdt, No. 171. 


Khwaja Mahmud of Ni shapur was regarded as an authority 
by his contemporaries. He was eloquent in discourse. 

Shaykh Muhammad Ma shuq had an excellent spiritual state 
and was aglow with love. 

Khwaja Rashid Muzaffar, the son of Abu Sa id, will, it may 
be hoped, become an example to all Sufi s and a point to which 
their hearts will turn. 

Khwaja Shaykh Ahmad Hammadi of Sarakhs was the 
champion of the time. He was in my company for a while, 
and I witnessed many wondrous experiences that he had. 

Shaykh Ahmad Najjar Samarqandi, who resided at Merv, 
was the sultan of his age. 

Shaykh Abu 1-Hasan All b. Abi All al-As\vad was an 
excellent successor to his father, and was unique in the 
sublimity of his aspiration and the sagacity of his intelligence. 

It would be difficult to mention all the Shaykhs of Khurasan. 
I have met three hundred in that province alone who had such 
mystical endowments that a single man of them would have 
been enough for the whole world. This is due to the fact that 
the sun of love and the fortune of the Sufi Path is in the 
ascendant in Khurasan. 


The Khwaja and Imam, honoured by high and low, Abu 
Ja far Muhammad b. al-Husayn l al-Harami, is an ecstatic 
(mustarni^ and enraptured man, who has a great affection 
towards the seekers of God. 

Khwaja Abu Muhammad Banghan 2 had an excellent spiritual 
life, and there was no weakness in his devotional practices. 

Ahmad Ilaqi was the Shaykh of his time. He renounced 
forms and habits. 

Khwaja Arif was unparalleled in his day. 

All b. Ishaq was venerated and had an eloquent tongue. 

I have seen all these Shaykhs and ascertained the " station " 
of each of them. They were all profound thepsophists. 

1 IJ. Al- Hasan. 

- This nisba is variously written " Banghari " and " Bayghazi ". 



Abu 1-Fadl b. al-Asadi was a venerable director, with 
brilliant evidences and manifest miracles. He was like a flash 
of the fire of love. His spiritual life was based on concealment 
(talbi s). 

Isma il al-Shashi was a highly esteemed director. He followed 
the path of " blame " (maldtnat). 

Shaykh Salar-i Tabarf was one of the Sufi divines and had 
an excellent state. 

Shaykh Abu Abdallah Muhammad b. al-Hakim, known as 
Murid, was a God-intoxicated man, and was not rivalled by 
any contemporary in his own line. His state was hidden from 
the vulgar, but his signs and evidences were conspicuous, and 
his state was better in companionship (suhbat) than in casual 
meeting (diddr}. 

Shaykh Sa i d b. Abi Sa id al- Ayyar was a recorder (hdfiz) of 
Apostolic Traditions. He had seen many Shaykhs and was 
a man of powerful spirituality and great knowledge, but he took 
the way of concealment and did not exhibit his true character. 

Khwaja Abu l- Ala Abd al-Rahim b. Ahmad al-Sughdi is 
honoured by all Sufis, and my heart is well-disposed towards 
him. His spiritual state is excellent, and he is acquainted with 
various branches of science. 

Shaykh Awhad Qaswarat b. Muhammad al-Jardizi has a 
boundless affection for Sufis and holds every one of them in 
reverence. He has seen many Shaykhs. 

In consequence of the firm convictions of the people and 
divines of Ghazna, I have good hope that hereafter persons 
will appear in whom we shall believe, and that those wretches 
(pardgandagdn) who have found their way into this city and 
have made the externals of Sufiism abominable will be cleared 
out, so that Ghazna will once more become the abode of saints 
and venerable men. 



I have already stated, in the notice of Abu 1-Hasan Nun, 
that the Sufis are divided into twelve sects, of which two 
are reprobated and ten are approved. Every one of these 
ten sects has an excellent system and doctrine as regards 
both purgation (inujdhqdaf) and contemplation (jnushdhadaf). 
Although they differ from each other in their devotional 
practices and ascetic disciplines, they agree in the fundamentals 
and derivatives of the religious law and Unification. Abu 
Yazid said : " The disagreement of divines is a mercy except 
as regards the detachment (tajrid] l of Unification " ; and 
there is a famous tradition to the same effect. The real 
essence of Sufiism lies amidst the traditions (akhbdr} of the 
Shaykhs, and is divided only metaphorically and formally. 
Therefore I will briefly divide their sayings in explanation 
of Sufiism and unfold the main principle on which the 
doctrine of each one of them is based, in order that the 
student may readily understand this matter. 


They are the followers of Abu Abdallah Harith b. Asad 
al-Muhasibi, who by consent of all his contemporaries was 
a man of approved spiritual influence and mortified passions 
(inaqbul al-nafas u maqtitl al-nafs), versed in theology, juris 
prudence, and mysticism. He discoursed on detachment from 
the world and Unification, while his outward and inward 
dealings (with God) were beyond reproach. The peculiarity 
of his doctrine is this, that he does not reckon satisfaction 

1 i.e. the detachment of all phenomenal attributes from the Unity of God. 


(ridd) among the " stations " (maqdmdt\ but includes it in 
the""" states " (akwdl). He was the first to hold this view, 
which was adopted by the people of Khurasan. The people of 
Iraq, on the contrary, asserted that satisfaction is one of the 
" stations ", and that it is the extreme of trust in God (tawakkul). 
The controversy between them has gone on to the present day. 1 

Discourse on the true nature of Satisfaction and the explanation 

of this doctrine. 

In the first place I will establish the true nature of 
satisfaction and set forth its various kinds ; then, secondly, 
I will explain the real meaning of " station " (inaqdiii) and 
"state" (Jidl) and the difference between them. 

Satisfaction is of two kinds : (a) the satisfaction of God 
with Man, and (fr) the satisfaction of Man with God. Divine 
satisfaction really consists in God s willing that Man should 
be recompensed (for his good works) and in His bestowing 
grace (kardmaf) upon him. Human satisfaction really consists 
in Man s performing the command of God and submitting to 
His decree. Accordingly, the satisfaction of God precedes 
that of Man, for until Man is divinely aided he does not 
submit to God s decree and does not perform His command, 
because Man s satisfaction is connected with God s satisfaction 
and subsists thereby. In short, human satisfaction is equanimity 
(istiwd-yi dil) towards Fate, whether it withholds or bestows, 
and spiritual steadfastness (istiqdmat) in regarding events, 
whether they be the manifestation of Divine Beauty (janial) 
or__qf Divine Majesty (jaldl}, so that it is all one to a man 
whether he is consumed in the fire of wrath or illuminated 
by the light of mercy, because both wrath and mercy are 
evidences of God, and whatever proceeds from God is good 
in His eyes. The Commander of the Faithful, Husayn b. All, 
was asked about the saying of Abu Dharr Ghifari : " I love 
poverty better than riches, and sickness better than health." 

1 According to Qushayri (105, 21 ff.) the Iraqis held the doctrine which is here 
ascribed to the Khurasams, and vice vcrsd. 



Husayn replied: "God have mercy on Abu Dharr ! but I say 
that whoever surveys the excellent choice made by God for 
him does not desire anything except what God has chosen 
for him." When a man sees God s choice and abandons his 
own choice, he is delivered from all sorrow. This, however, 
does not hold good in absence from God (ghaybat) ; it requires 
presence with God (hndiir\ because " satisfaction expels 
sorrows and cures heedlessness ", and purges the heart of 
thoughts relating to other than God and frees it from the 
bonds of tribulation ; for it is characteristic of satisfaction to 
deliver (rahdnidari). 

From the standpoint of ethics, satisfaction is the acquiescence 
of one who knows that giving and withholding are in God s 
knowledge, and firmly believes that God sees him in all circum 
stances. There are four classes of quietists : (i) those who are 
satisfied with God s gift (^ata), which is gnosis (mafrifat) ; 
(2) those who are satisfied with happiness (nu ma), which is this 
world ; (3) those who are satisfied with affliction (bald), which 
consists of diverse probations ; and (4) those who are satisfied 
with being chosen (istifa), which is love (mahabbat). He who 
looks away from the Giver to the gift accepts it with his soul, 
and when he has so accepted it trouble and grief vanish from 
his heart. He who looks away from the gift to the Giver loses 
the gift and treads the path of satisfaction by his effort. 
Now effort is painful and grievous, and gnosis is only realized 
when its true nature is divinely revealed ; and inasmuch as 
gnosis, when sought by effort, is a shackle and a veil, such gnosis 
is non-cognition (iiakiraf). Again, he who is satisfied with this 
world, without God, is involved in destruction and perdition, 
because the whole world is not worth so much that a friend of 
God should set his heart on it or that any care for it should 
enter his mind. Happiness is happiness only when it leads to 
the Giver of happiness ; otherwise, it is an affliction. Again, he 
who is satisfied with the affliction that God sends is satisfied 
because in the affliction he sees the Author thereof and can 
endure its pain by contemplating Him who sent it ; nay, he 


does not account it painful, such is his joy in contemplating 
his Beloved. Finally, those who are satisfied with being chosen 
by God are His lovers, whose existence is an illusion alike in 
His anger and His satisfaction ; whose hearts dwell in the 
presence of Purity and in the garden of Intimacy ; who have 
no thought of created things and have escaped from the bonds 
of " stations " and " states " and have devoted themselves to the 
love of God. Their satisfaction involves no loss, for satisfaction 
with God is a manifest kingdom. 


It is related in the Traditions that Moses said : " O God, show 
me an action with which, if I did it, Thou wouldst be satisfied." 
God answered : " Thou canst not do that, O Moses ! " Then 
Moses fell prostrate, worshipping God and supplicating Him, 
and God made a revelation to him, saying: " Ojspn of Imran, 
My_satisfaction with thee consists in thy being satisfied with 
"My decree," i.e. when a man is satisfied with God s decrees it 
is a sign that God is satisfied with him. 

Bishr Hafi asked Fudayl b. lyad whether renunciation (zuhd) 
or satisfaction was better. Fudayl replied : " Satisfaction, because 
he who is satisfied does not desire any higher stage," i.e. there 
is above renunciation a stage which the renouncer desires, but 
there is no stage above satisfaction that the satisfied man should 
wish for it. Hence the shrine is superior to the gate. This 
story shows the correctness of Muhasibi s doctrine, that satis 
faction belongs to the class of " states " and Divine gifts, not to 
the stages that are acquired (by effort). It is possible, however, 
that the satisfied man should have a desire. The Apostle used 
to say in his prayers : " O God, I ask of Thee satisfaction after 
the going forth of Thy ordinance (al-ridd ba d al-qadd)" 
i.e. " keep me in such a condition that when the ordinance comes 
to me from Thee, Destiny may find me satisfied with its coming". 
Here it is affirmed that satisfaction properly is posterior to the 
advent of Destiny, because, if it preceded, it would only be 
a resolution to be satisfied, which is not the same thing- as actual 



satisfaction. Abu !- Abbas b. Ata says : "Satisfaction is this, 
that the heart should consider the eternal choice of God on 
behalf of His creature," i.e. whatever befalls him, he should 
recognize it as the eternal will of God and His past decree, and 
should not be distressed, but should accept it cheerfully. Harith 
Muhasibi, the author of the doctrine, says : " Satisfaction is the 
quiescence {suki ui) of the heart under the events which flow 
from the Divine decrees." This is sound doctrine, because the 
quiescence and tranquillity of the heart are not qualities acquired 
by Man, but are Divine gifts. And as an argument for the view 
that satisfaction is a ".state ", not a " station ", they cite the story 
of Utba al-Ghulam, who one night did not sleep, but kept 
saying: " If Thou chastise me I love Thee, and if Thou have 
mercy on me I love Thee," i.e. " the pain of Thy chastisement 
and the pleasure of Thy bounty affect the body alone, whereas 
the agitation of love resides in the heart, which is not injured 
thereby ". This corroborates the view of Muhasibi. Satisfaction 
is the result of love, inasmuch as the lover is satisfied with what 
is done by the Beloved. Abu Uthman Hi ri says : " During the 
last forty years God has never put me in any state that I dis 
liked, or transferred me to another state that I resented." This 
indicates continual satisfaction and perfect love. The story of 
the dervish who fell into the Tigris is well known. Seeing that 
he could not swim, a man on the bank cried out to him : " Shall 
I tell some one to bring you ashore ? " The dervish said, " No." 
"Then do you wish to be drowned?" "No." "What, then, 
do you wish ? " The dervish replied : " That which God wishes. 
What have I to do with wishing ? " 

The Sufi Shaykhs have uttered many sayings on satisfaction, 
which differ in phraseology but agree in the two principles that 
have been mentioned. 

The distinction between a " State " (hal) and a " Station " 


You must know that both these terms are in common use 
among Sufis, and it is necessary that the student should be 


acquainted with them. I must discuss this matter here, although 
it does not belong to the present chapter. 

" Station " (maqdiii) denotes anyone s " standing " in the Way of 
God, and his fulfilment of the obligations appertaining to that 
" station " and his keeping it until he comprehends its perfection 
so far as lies in a man s power. It is not permissible that he 
should quit his " station " without fulfilling the obligations thereof. 
Thus, the first " station " is repentance (tawbat\ then comes 
conversion (indbat\ then renunciation (zuhd\ then trust in God 
(tawakkul ], and so on : it is not permissible that anyone should 
pretend to conversion without repentance, or to renunciation 
without conversion, or to trust in God without renunciation. 

" State" (hdl\ on the other hand, is something that descends 
from God into a man s heart, without his being able to repel 
it when it comes, or to attract it when it goes, by his own effort. 
Accordingly, while the term " station " denotes the way of the 
seeker, and his progress in the field of exertion, and his rank 
before God in proportion to his merit, the term " state " 
denotes the favour and grace which God bestows upon the 
heart of His servant, and which are not connected with any 
mortification on the latter s part. " Station " belongs to the 
category of acts, "state" to the category of gifts. Hence the 
man that has a " station " stands by his own self-mortification, 
whereas the man that has a "state" is dead to "self" and stands 
by a "state" which God creates in him. 

Here the Shaykhs are at variance. Some hold that a " state " 
may be permanent, while others reject this view. Harith 
Muhasibi maintained that a "state" may be permanent. He 
argued that love and longing" and " contraction " (qabtf) and 
"expansion" (bast) are "states": if they cannot be permanent, 
then the lover would not be a lover, and until a man s "state " 
becomes his attribute (sifat) the name of that "state" is not 
properly applied to him. It is for this reason that he holds 
satisfaction to be one of the " states ", and the same view is 
indicated by the saying of Abu Uthman : " During the last 
forty years God has never put me in a state that I disliked." 


Other Shaykhs deny that a " state " can be permanent. Junayd 
says : " States are like flashes of lightning : their permanence 
is merely a suggestion of the lower soul (uafs). y Some have 
said, to the same effect : " States are like their name," 
i.e. they vanish almost as soon as they descend (tahillii) on 
the heart. Whatever is permanent becomes an attribute, and 
attributes subsist in an object which must be more perfect 
than the attributes themselves ; and this reduces the doctrine 
that " states " are permanent to an absurdity. I have set forth 
the distinction between " state " and " station " in order that 
you may know what is signified by these terms wherever they 
occur in the phraseology of the Sufis or in the present work. 

In conclusion, you must know that satisfaction is the end 
of the "stations" and the beginning of the "states": it is 
a place of which one side rests on acquisition and effort, and 
the other side on love and rapture : there is no " station " 
above it : at this point mortifications (jnujdhaddf] cease. 
Hence its beginning is in the class of things acquired by 
effort, its end in the class of things divinely bestowed. 
Therefore it may be called either a " station " or a " state ". 

This is the doctrine of Muhasibi as regards the theory of 
Sufiism. In practice, however, he made no difference, except 
that he used to warn his pupils against expressions and acts 
which, though sound in principle, might be thought evil. For 
example, he had a "king-bird" (sJidJnnurgJti) , which used to 
utter a loud note. One day Abu Hamza of Baghdad, who 
was Harith s pupil and an ecstatic man, came to see him. 
The bird piped, and Abu Hamza gave a shriek. Harith rose 
up and seized a knife, crying, " Thou art an infidel," and would 
have killed him if the disciples had not separated them. Then 
he said to Abu Hamza : " Become a Moslem, O miscreant ! " 
The disciples exclaimed : " O Shaykh, we all know him to be 
one of the elect saints and Unitarians : why does the Shaykh 
regard him with suspicion ? " Harith replied : " I do not 
suspect him : his opinions are excellent, and I know that he 
is a profound Unitarian, but why should he do something 


which resembles the actions of those who believe in incarnation 
(hululiydn) and has the appearance of being derived from 
their doctrine? If a senseless bird pipes after its fashion, 
capriciously, why should he behave as though its note were 
the voice of God ? God is indivisible, and the Eternal does 
not become incarnate, or united with phenomena or com 
mingled with them." When Abu Hamza perceived the 
Shaykh s insight, he said : " O Shaykh, although I am right 
in theory, nevertheless, since my action resembled the actions 
of heretics, I repent and withdraw." 

May God keep my conduct above suspicion ! But this is 
impossible when one associates with worldly formalists whose 
enmity is aroused by anyone who does not submit to their 
hypocrisy and sin. 


They are the followers of Abu Salih Hamdun b. Ahmad 
b. Umara al-Qassar, a celebrated divine and eminent Sufi. 
His doctrine was the manifestation and divulgation of " blame " 
(jnaldmaf]. He used to say : " God s knowledge of thee is 
better than men s knowledge," i.e. thy dealings with God in 
private should be better than thy dealings with men in public, 
for thy preoccupation with men is the greatest veil between 
thee and God. I have given some account of al-Qassar in 
the chapter on " Blame ". He relates the following story : 
" One day, while I was walking in the river-bed in the Hira 
quarter of Nishapur, I met Nuh, a brigand famous for his 
generosity, who was the captain of all the brigands of Nishapur. 
I said to him, * O Nuh, what is generosity ? He replied, My 
generosity or yours ? I said, Describe both. He replied : 
I put off the coat (qabd) and wear a patched frock and 
practise the conduct appropriate to that garment, in order 
that I may become a Sufi and refrain from sin because of 
the shame that I feel before God ; but you put off the patched 
frock in order that you may not be deceived by men, and that 
men may not be deceived by thee : accordingly, my generosity 


is formal observance of the religious law, while your generosity 
is spiritual observance of the Truth. " This is a very sound 


They are the followers of Abu Yazid Tayfur b. Isa b. Surushan 
al-Bistami, a great and eminent Sufi. His doctrine is rapture 
(ghalabaf) and intoxication (sukr). Rapturous longing for God 
and intoxication of love cannot be acquired by human beings, 
and it is idle to claim, and absurd to imitate, anything that lies 
beyond the range of acquisition. Intoxication is not an attribute 
of the sober, and Man has no power of drawing it to himself. 
The intoxicated man is enraptured and pays no heed to created 
things, that he should manifest any quality involving conscious 
effort (taklif). The Sufi Shaykhs are agreed that no one is 
a proper model for others unless he is steadfast (mustaqim) and 
has escaped from the circle of "states"; but there are some 
who allow that the way of rapture and intoxication may 
be trodden with effort, because the Apostle said : " Weep, or 
else make as though ye wept ! " Now, to imitate others for the 
sake of ostentation is sheer polytheism, but it is different when 
the object of the imitator is that God may perchance raise him 
to the rank of those whom he has imitated, in accordance with 
the saying of the Apostle: " Whoever makes himself like 
unto a people is one of them." And one of the Shaykhs said : 
" Contemplations (mushdhaddf) are the result of mortifications 
(mujdhaddt)" My own view is that, although mortifications 
are always excellent, intoxication and rapture cannot be 
acquired at all ; hence they cannot be induced by mortifications, 
which in themselves never become a cause of intoxication. 
I will now set forth the different opinions of the Shaykhs con 
cerning the true nature of intoxication (sukr) and sobriety 
in order that difficulties may be removed. 

Discourse on Intoxication and Sobriety. 

You must know that "intoxication" and "rapture " are terms 
used by spiritualists to denote the rapture of love for God, while 


the term " sobriety " expresses the attainment of that which is 
desired. Some place the former above the latter, and some 
hold the latter to be superior. Abu Yazfd and his followers 
prefer intoxication to sobriety. They say that sobriety involves 
the fixity and equilibrium of human attributes, which are the 
greatest veil between God and Man, whereas intoxication 
involves the destruction of human attributes, like foresight and 
choice, and the annihilation of a man s self-control in God, so 
that only those faculties survive in him that do not belong to 
the human gemis ; and they are the most complete and perfect. 
Thus David was in the state of sobriety ; an act proceeded from 
him which God attributed to him and said, " David killed 
Goliath" (Kor. ii, 252): but our Apostle was in the state of 
intoxication ; an act proceeded from him which God attributed 
to Himself and said, "Thou didst not throw, when thou threwest, 
but God threw" (Kor. viii, 17). How great is the difference 
between these two men ! The attribution of a man s act to 
God is better than the attribution of God s act to a man, for in 
the latter case the man stands by himself, while in the former 
case he stands through God. 

Junayd and his followers prefer sobriety to intoxication. 
They say that intoxication is evil, because it involves the 
disturbance of one s normal state and loss of sanity and self- 
control ; and inasmuch as the principle of all things is sought 
either by way of annihilation or subsistence, or of effacement or 
affirmation, the principle of verification cannot be attained 
unless the seeker is sane. Blindness will never release anyone 
from the bondage and corruption of phenomena. The fact that 
people remain in phenomena and forget God is due to their not 
seeing things as they really are ; for if they saw, they would 
escape. Seeing is of two kinds : he who looks at anything sees 
it either with the eye of subsistence (baqd) or with the eye of 
annihilation (fand). If with the eye of subsistence, he perceives 
that the whole universe is imperfect in comparison with his 
own subsistence, for he does not regard phenomena as self- 
subsistent ; and if he looks with the eye of annihilation, he 


perceives that all created things are non-existent beside the 
subsistence of God. In either case he turns away from 
created things. On this account the Apostle said in his 
prayer : " O God, show us things as they are," because who 
ever thus sees them finds rest. Now, such vision cannot be 
properly attained except in the state of sobriety, and the 
intoxicated have no knowledge thereof. For example, Moses 
was intoxicated ; he could not endure the manifestation of one 
epiphany, but fell in a swoon (Kor. vii, 139) : but our Apostle 
was sober ; he beheld the same glory continuously, with ever- 
increasing consciousness, all the way from Mecca, until he stood 
at the space of two bow-lengths from the Divine presence 
(Kor. liii, 9). 

My Shaykh, who followed the doctrine of Junayd, used to say 
that Intoxication is the playground of children, but sobriety is 
the death-field of men. I say, in agreement with my Shaykh, 
that the perfection of the state of the intoxicated man is sobriety. 
The lowest stage in sobriety consists in regarding the powerless- 
ness of humanity : therefore, a sobriety that appears to be evil 
is better than an intoxication that is really evil. It is related 
that Abu Uthman Maghribi, in the earlier part of his life, 
passed twenty years in retirement, living in deserts where he 
never heard the sound of a human voice, until his frame was 
wasted and his eyes became as small as the eye of a sack-needle. 
After twenty years he was commanded to associate with man 
kind. He resolved to begin with the people of God who dwelt 
beside His Temple, since by doing so he would gain a greater 
blessing. The Shaykhs of Mecca were aware of his coming and 
went forth to meet him. Finding him so changed that he hardly 
seemed to be a human creature, they said to him : " O Abu 
Uthman, tell us why you went and what you saw and what you 
gained and wherefore you have come back." He replied : " I 
went because of intoxication, and I saw the evil of intoxication, 
and I gained despair, and I have come back on account of 
weakness." All the Shaykhs said : " O Abu Uthman, it is not 
lawful for anyone after you to explain the meaning of sobriety 


and intoxication, for you have done justice to the whole matter 
and have shown forth the evil of intoxication." 

Intoxication, then^is to fancy one sj>elf annihilated while the 
attnbirtes really subsist ; and this is a veil. Sobriety, on the 
other hand, is the vision of subsistence while the attributes are 
annihilated ; and this is actual revelation. It is absurd for 
anyone to suppose that intoxication is nearer to annihilation 
than sobriety is, for intoxication is a quality that exceeds 
sobriety, and so long as a man s attributes tend to increase he 
is without knowledge ; but when he begins to diminish them, 
seekers (of God) have some hope of him. 

It is related that Yahya b. Mu adh wrote to Abu Yazi d : 
" What do you say of one who drinks a single drop of the ocean 
of love and becomes intoxicated?" Bayazid wrote in reply: 
" What do you say of one who, if all the oceans in the world 
were filled with the wine of love, would drink them all and still 
cry for more to slake his thirst ? " People imagine that Yahya 
was speaking of intoxication, and Bayazid of sobriety, but the 
opposite is the case. The man of sobriety is he who is unable 
to drink even one drop, and the man of intoxication is he who 
drinks all and still desires more. Wine being the instrument of 
intoxication, but the enemy of sobriety, intoxication demands 
what is homogeneous with itself, whereas sobriety takes no 
pleasure in drinking. 

There are two kinds of intoxication : (i) with the wine of 
affection (inawaddaf) and (2) with the cup of love (mahabbaf). 
The former is " caused " (ma tof), since it arises from regarding 
the benefit (m f maf)\ but the latter has no cause, since it arises 
from regarding the benefactor (imitfiiti). He who regards the 
benefit sees through himself and therefore sees himself, but he 
who regards the benefactor sees through Him and therefore 
does not see himself, so that, although he is intoxicated, his 
intoxication is sobriety. 

Sobriety also is of two kinds : sobriety in heedlessness 
(ghaflaf) and sobriety in love (mahabbaf). The former is the 
greatest of veils, but the latter is the clearest of revelations. 


The sobriety that is connected with heedlessness is really 
intoxication, while that which is linked with love, although 
it be intoxication, is really sobriety. When the principle (as!) 
is firmly established, sobriety and intoxication resemble one 
another, but when the principle is wanting, both are baseless. 
In short, where true mystics tread, sobriety and intoxication 
are the effect of difference (ikhtildf\ and when the Sultan 
of Truth displays his beauty, both sobriety and intoxication 
appear to be intruders (tufayli\ because the boundaries of both 
are joined, and the end of the one is the beginning of the 
other, and beginning and end are terms that imply separation, 
which has only a relative existence. In union all separations 
are negated, as the poet says 

" When the morning-star of wine rises, 
TJie drunken and the sober are as one" 

At Sarakhs there were two spiritual directors, namely, 
Luqman and Abu 1-Fadl Hasan. One day Luqman came 
to Abu 1-Fadl and found him with a piece (of manuscript) 
in his hand. He said: " O Abu 1-Fadl, what are you seeking 
in this paper ? " Abu 1-Fadl replied : " The same thing as 
you are seeking without a paper." Luqman said : " Then why 
this difference?" Abu 1-Fadl answered : "You see a difference 
when you ask me what I am seeking. Become sober from 
intoxication and get rid of sobriety, in order that the difference 
may be removed from you and that you may know what you 
and I are in search of." 

The Tay fun s and Junaydis are at variance to the extent 
which has been indicated. As regards ethics, the doctrine of 
Bayazid consists in shunning companionship and choosing 
retirement from the world, and he enjoined all his disciples 
to do the same. This is a praiseworthy and laudable Path. 


They are the followers of Abu 1-Qasim al-Junayd b. 
Muhammad, who in his time was called the Peacock of the 


Divines (Td tis al-Ulama], He is the chief of this sect and 
the Imam of their Imams. His doctrine is based on sobriety 
and is opposed to that of the Tayfuris, as has been explained. 
It is the best known and most celebrated of all doctrines, and 
all the Shaykhs have adopted it, notwithstanding that there 
is much difference in their sayings on the ethics of Sufiism. 
Want of space forbids me to discuss it further in this book : 
those who wish to become better acquainted with it must 
seek information elsewhere. 

I have read in the Anecdotes that when Husayn b. Mansur 
(al-Hallaj) in his rapture broke off all relations with Amr b. 
Uthman (al-Makki) and came to Junayd, Junayd asked him 
for what purpose he had come to him. Husayn said : " For 
the purpose of associating with the Shaykh." Junayd replied : 
" I do not associate with madmen. Association demands 
sanity ; if that is wanting, the result is such behaviour as 
yours in regard to Sahl b. Abdallah Tustari and Amr." 
Husayn said : " O Shaykh, sobriety and intoxication are two 
attributes of Man, and Man is veiled from his Lord until 
his attributes are annihilated." " O son of Mansur," said 
Junayd, "you are in error concerning sobriety and intoxication. 
The former denotes soundness of one s spiritual state in 
relation to God, while the latter denotes excess of longing 

o o 

and extremity of love, and neither of them can be acquired 
by human effort. O son of Mansur, in your words I see much 
foolishness and nonsense." 


They are the followers of Abu 1-Hasan Ahmad b. Muhammad 
Nuri, one of the most eminent and illustrious Sufi divines. 
The principle of his doctrine is to regard Sufiism (tasawwuf) 
as superior to poverty (faqr). In matters of conduct he 
agrees with Junayd. ItMs_a peculiarity of his "path "that in 
companionship (suhbaf) he prefers his companion s claim to 
his own, and holds companionship without preference (ithdr) 
to be unlawful. He also holds that companionship is obligatory 


on dervishes, and that retirement (^uzlaf) is not praiseworthy, 
and that everyone is bound to prefer his companion to himself. 
It is related that he said : " Beware of retirement ! for it is in 
connexion with Satan ; and cleave to companionship, for therein 
is the satisfaction of the Merciful God." 

Now I will explain the true nature of preference, and when 
I come to the chapter on companionship and retirement I will 
set forth the mysteries of the subject in order to make it 
more generally instructive. 

Discourse on Preference (ithar). 

God said : "And they prefer them to themselves, although they 
are indigent " (Kor. lix, 9). This verse was revealed concerning 
the poor men among the Companions in particular. The 
true nature of preference consists in maintaining the rights 
of the person with whom one associates, and in subordinating 
one s own interest to the interest of one s friend, and in taking 
trouble upon one s self for the sake of promoting his happiness, 
because preference is the rendering of help to others, and the 
putting into practice of that which God commanded to His 
Apostle : " Use indulgence and command what is just and turn 
away from the ignorant" (Kor. vii, 198). This will be explained 
more fully in the chapter on the rules of companionship. 

Now, preference is of two kinds : firstly, in companionship, as 
has been mentioned ; and secondly, in love. In preferring the 
claim of one s companion there is a sort of trouble and effort, 
but in preferring the claim of one s beloved there is nothing 
but pleasure and delight. It is well known that when Ghulam 
al-Khalil persecuted the Sufis, Nun and Raqqam and Abu 
Hamza were arrested and conveyed to the Caliph s palace. 
Ghulam al-Khalil urged the Caliph to put them to death, 
saying that they were heretics (zanddiqa\ and the Caliph 
immediately gave orders for their execution. When the 
executioner approached Raqqam, Nun rose and offered himself 
in Raqqam s place with the utmost cheerfulness and submission. 
All the spectators were astounded. The executioner said : 


" O young man, the sword is not a thing that people desire to 
meet so eagerly as you have welcomed it ; and your turn 
has not yet arrived." Nuri answered : " Yes ; my doctrine is 
founded on preference. Life is the most precious thing in 
the world : I wish to sacrifice for my brethren s sake the few 
moments that remain. In my opinion, one moment of this 
world is better than a thousand years of the next world, 
because this is the place of service (khidmaf) and that is the 
place of proximity (qurbat\ and proximity is gained by 
service." The tenderness of Nuri and the fineness of his 
saying astonished the Caliph (who was informed by a courier 
of what had passed) to such a degree, that he suspended 
the execution of the three Sufis and charged the chief Cadi, 
Abu l- Abbas b. All, to inquire into the matter. The Cadi, 
having taken them to his house and questioned them concerning 
the ordinances of the Law and the Truth, found them perfect, 
and felt remorse for his indifference to their fate. Then Nuri 
said : " O Cadi, though you have asked all these questions, 
you have not yet asked anything to the point, for God has 
servants who eat through Him, and drink through Him, and 
sit through Him, and live through Him, and abide in con 
templation of Him : if they were cut off from contemplating 
Him they would cry out in anguish." The Cadi was amazed 
at the subtlety of his speech and the soundness of his state. 
He wrote to the Caliph : " If the Sufis are heretics, who in 
the world is a Unitarian ? " The Caliph called them to his 
presence and said : " Ask a boon." They replied : " The only 
boon we ask of thee is that thou shouldst forget us, and 
neither make us thy favourites nor banish us from thy court, 
for thy favour and displeasure are alike to us." The Caliph 
wept and dismissed them with honour. 

It is related that Nafi l said: " Ibn Umar 2 desired to eat 
a fish. I sought through the town, but did not find one until 
several days had passed. Having procured it, I gave orders 

1 A well-known traditionist, who died about 120 A.H. 

2 Abdallah, son of the Caliph Umar. 


that it should be placed on a cake of bread and presented it 
to him. I noticed an expression of joy on his face as he received 
it, but suddenly a beggar came to the door of his house and 
he ordered the fish to be given to him. The servant said : 
O master, you have been desiring a fish for several days ; let 
us give the beggar something else. Ibn Umar replied : * This 
fish is unlawful to me, for I have put it out of my mind on 
account of a Tradition which I heard from the Apostle : 
Whenever anyone feels a desire and repels it and prefers another 
to himself^ he shall be forgiven! " 

I have read in the Anecdotes that ten dervishes lost their 
way in the desert and were overtaken by thirst. They had 
only one cup of water, and everyone preferred the claim of 
the others, so that none of them would drink and they all died 
except one, who then drank it and found strength to escape. 
Some person said to him : " Had you not drunk, it would 
have been better." He replied : "The Law obliged me to drink; 
if I had not, I should have killed myself and been punished 
on that account." The other said : " Then did your friends 
kill themselves ? " " No," said the dervish ; " they refused to 
drink in order that their companions might drink, but when 
I alone survived I was legally obliged to drink." l 

Among the Israelites there was a devotee who had served 
God for four hundred years. One day he said : " O Lord, if 
Thou hadst not created these mountains, wandering for religion s 
sake (siydhaf) would have been easier for Thy servants." The 
Divine command came to the Apostle of that time to say to 
the devotee : " What business have you to interfere in My 
kingdom ? Now, since you have interfered, I blot your name 
from the register of the blest and inscribe it in the register 
of the damned." On hearing this, the devotee trembled with 
joy and bowed to the ground in thanksgiving. The Apostle 

1 Here follow two stories illustrating the same topic : the first relates how AH 
slept in the Prophet s bed on the night of the latter s emigration from Mecca, when 
the infidels were seeking to slay him ; the second, how on the battle-field of Uhud 
the wounded Moslems, though parched with thirst, preferred to die rather than 
drink the water which their comrades asked for. 


said : " O fool, it is not necessary to bow down in thanksgiving 
for damnation." " My thanksgiving," the devotee replied : " is 
not for damnation, but because my name is at least inscribed 
in one of His registers. But, O Apostle, I have a boon to 
ask. Say unto God, Since Thou wilt send me to Hell, make 
me so large that I may take the place of all sinful Unitarians, 
and let them go to Paradise. God commanded the Apostle 
to tell the devotee that the probation which he had undergone 
was not for the purpose of humiliating him, but to reveal him 
to the people, and that on the Day of Resurrection both he 
and those for whom he had interceded would be in Paradise. 

I asked Ahmad Hammadi of Sarakhs what was the beginning 
of his conversion. He replied : " Once I set out from Sarakhs 
and took my camels into the desert and stayed there for a con 
siderable time. I was always wishing to be hungry and was 
giving my portion of food to others, and the words of God 
" They prefer them to themselves, although they are indigent " 
(Kor. lix, 9) were ever fresh in my mind ; and I had a firm 
belief in the Sufis. One day a hungry lion came from the 
desert and killed one of my camels and retired to some rising 
ground and roared. All the wild beasts in the neighbourhood, 
hearing him roar, gathered round him. He tore the camel to 
pieces and went back to the higher ground without having 
eaten anything. The other beasts foxes, jackals, wolves, etc. 
began to eat, and the lion waited until they had gone away. 
Then he approached in order to eat a morsel, but seeing a lame 
fox in the distance he withdrew once more until the new-comer 
had eaten his fill. After that, he came and ate a morsel. 
As he departed he spoke to me, who had been watching from 
afar, and said: O Ahmad, to prefer others to one s self in the 
matter of food is an act only worthy of dogs : a man sacrifices 
his life and his soul. When I saw this evidence I renounced 
all worldly occupations, and that was the beginning of my 

Ja far Khuldi says: "One day, when Abu 1-Hasan Nun was 
praying to God in solitude I went to overhear him, for he 



was very eloquent. He was saying, O Lord, in Thy eternal 
knowledge and power and will Thou dost punish the people 
of Hell, whom Thou hast created ; and if it be Thy inexorable 
s will to make Hell full of mankind, Thou art able to fill that 
^? Hell and all its limbos \vith me alone and to send them to 
Paradise. I was amazed by his speech, but I dreamed that 
some one came to me and said: God bids thee tell Abu 1- Hasan 
that he has been forgiven on account of his compassion for 
God s creatures and his reverence for God. " 

He was called Nun because when he spoke in a dark room 
the whole room was illuminated by the light (nur) of his 
spirituality. And by the light of the Truth he used to read 
the inmost thoughts of his disciples, so that Junayd said : 
" Abu 1- Hasan is the spy on men s hearts (jdsiis al-quhib}" 
This is his peculiar doctrine. It is a sound principle, and 
v. one of great importance in the eyes of those who have insight. 
^ Nothing is harder to a man than spiritual sacrifice (badhl-i 
nili) and to refrain from the object of his love, and God hath 
made this sacrifice the key of all good, as He said : " Ye 
shall never attain to righteousness until ye give in alms of that 
which ye love " (Kor. iii, 86). When a man s spirit is sacrificed, 
of what value are his wealth and his health and his frock 
and his food? This is the foundation of Sufiism. Some one 
came to Ruwaym and asked him for direction. Ruvvaym 
said : " O my son, the whole affair consists in spiritual 
sacrifice. If you are able for this, it is well ; if not, do not 
occupy yourself with the futilities (turrahdf) of the Sufis," 
i.e. all except this is futile ; and God said : " Do not call 
dead those who are slain in tJie way of God. Nay^ they are 
living" (Kor. ii, 149). Eternal life is gained by spiritual 
sacrifice and by renunciation of self-interest in fulfilling God s 
commandment and by obedience to His friends. But from the 
standpoint of gnosis (mctrifaf) preference and free choice are 
separation (tafriqat\ and real preference consists in union with 
God, for the true basis of self-interest is self-abandonment. 
So long as the seeker s progress is connected with acquisition 


(kasb) it is pernicious, but when the attracting influence (Jadhfr) 
of the Truth manifests its dominion all his actions are con 
founded, and he loses all power of expression ; nor can any 
name be applied to him or any description be given of him 
or anything be imputed to him. On this subject Shibli says 
in verse 

" / am lost to myself and unconscious^ 

And my attributes are annihilated. 
To-day I am lost to all things: 
Naught remains but a forced expression 


They are the followers of Sahl b. Abdallah of Tustar, a great 
and venerable Sufi, who has been already mentioned. His 
doctrine inculcates endeavour and self-mortification and ascetic 
training, and he used to bring his disciples to perfection in 
self-mortification (mujdhadaf). It is related in a well-known 
anecdote that he said to one of his disciples : " Strive to say 
continuously for one day, O Allah ! O Allah ! O Allah ! and 
do the same next day and the day after that," until he became 
habituated to saying those words. Then he bade him repeat 
them at night also, until they became so familiar that he 
uttered them even during his sleep. Then he said : " Do 
not repeat them any more, but let all your faculties be 
engrossed in remembering God," The disciple did this, until 
he became absorbed in the thought of God. One day, when 
he was in his house, a piece of wood fell on his head and 
broke it. The drops of blood which trickled to the ground 
bore the legend Allah ! Allah ! Allah ! " 

The "path" of the Sahlfs is to educate disciples by acts of 
self-mortification, and austerities; that of the Hamdums * is to 
serve and reverence dervishes ; and that of the Junaydis is to 
keep watch over one s spiritual state (inurdqaba-i bating. 

1 The followers of Hamdun al-Qassar, who are generally called Qassaris. 


The object of all austerities and acts of self-mortification is 
resistance to the lower soul (nafs\ and until a man knows 
his lower soul his austerities are of no use to him. Now, 
therefore, I will explain the knowledge and true nature of 
the lower soul, and in the next place I will lay down the 
doctrine concerning self-mortification and its principles. 

Discourse touching the true nature of the Lower Soul (nafs) and 
the meaning of Passion (hawa). 

You must know that nafs, etymologically, is the essence 
and reality of anything, but in popular language it is used to 
denote many contradictory meanings, e.g. "spirit", "virility" 
(nmruwwat\ " body ", and " blood ". The mystics of this sect, 
however, are agreed that it is the source and principle of 
evil, but while some assert that it is a substance ( l ayti) 
located in the body, as the spirit (ruJi) is, others hold it to 
be an attribute of the body, as life is. But they all agree 
that through it base qualities are manifested and that it is 
the immediate cause of blameworthy actions. Such actions 
are of two kinds, namely, sins (ma rfsf) and base qualities 
(akhldq-i dani), like pride, envy, avarice, anger, hatred, etc., 
which are not commendable in law and reason. These 
qualities can be removed by discipline (riyddaf) : e.g., sins 
are removed by repentance. Sins belong to the class of 
external attributes, whereas the qualities above mentioned 
belong to the class of internal attributes. Similarly, discipline 
is an external act, and repentance is an internal attribute. 
A base quality that appears within is purged by excellent 
outward attributes, and one that appears without is purged 
by laudable inward attributes. Both the lower soul and the 
spirit are subtle things (latd if) existing in the body, just as 
devils and angels and Paradise and Hell exist in the universe; 
but the one is the seat of good, while the other is the seat 
of evil. Hence, resistance to the lower soul is the chief of 
all acts of devotion and the crown of all acts of self- 
mortification, and only thereby can Man find the way to 


God, because submission to the lower soul involves his 
destruction and resistance to it involves his salvation. 1 

Now, every attribute needs an object whereby it subsists, 
and knowledge of that attribute, namely, the soul, is not 
attained save by knowledge of the whole body, which know 
ledge in turn demands an explanation of the qualities of 
human nature (insdniyyaf) and the mystery thereof, and is 
incumbent upon all seekers of the Truth, because whoever is 
ignorant of himself is yet more ignorant of other things ; and 
inasmuch as a man is bound to know God, he must first 
know himself, in order that by rightly perceiving his own 
temporality he may recognize the eternity of God, and may 
learn the everlastingness of God through his own perishable- 
ness. The Apostle said : "He who knows himself already 
knows his Lord," i.e., if he knows himself as perishable he 
knows God as everlasting, or if he knows himself as humble 
he knows God as Almighty, or if he knows himself as a 
servant he knows God as the Lord. Therefore one who 
does not know himself is debarred from knowledge of all 

As regards the knowledge of human nature and the various 
opinions held on that topic, some Moslems assert that Man 
is nothing but spirit (ni/i), of which this body is the cuirass 
and temple and residence, in order to preserve it from being 
injured by the natural humours (tabdyi \ and of which the 
attributes are sensation and intelligence. This view is false, 
because a body from which the soul (jdti) has departed is still 
called "a human being" (insdii) ; if the soul is joined with it 
it is " a live human being", and if the soul is gone it is " a dead 
human being ". Moreover, a soul is located in the bodies of 
animals, yet they are not called "human beings". If the spirit 
(riiJi) were the cause of human nature, it would follow that 

1 Here the author cites Kor. Ixxix, 40, 41 ; ii, 81 (part of the verse) ; xii, 53 ; and 
the Traditions : " When God wishes well unto His servant He causes him to see the 
faults of his soul," and " God said to David, O David, hate thy soul, for My love 
depends on thy hatred of it. " 


the principle of human nature must exist in every creature 
possessed of a soul (jdn-ddrt) ; which is a proof of the falsity 
of their assertion. Others, again, have stated that the term 
"human nature" is applicable to the spirit and the body 
together, and that it no longer applies when one is separated 
from the other ; e.g., when two colours, black and white, are 
combined on a horse, it is called " piebald " (ablaq), whereas 
the same colours, apart from each other, are called " black " 
and " white ". This too is false, in accordance with God s word : 
" Did there not come over Man a space of time during which he 
was not a thing worthy of mention?" (Kor. Ixxvi, i) : in this 
verse Man s clay, without soul for the soul had not yet been 
joined to his body is called " Man ". Others aver that " Man " 
is an atom, centred in the heart, which is the principle of all 
human attributes. This also is absurd, for if anyone is killed 
and his heart is taken out of his body he does not lose the 
name of " human being " ; moreover, it is agreed that the heart 
was not in the human body before the soul. Some pretenders 
to Sufiism have fallen into error on this subject. They declare 
that " Man " is not that which eats and drinks and suffers 
decay, but a Divine mystery, of which this body is the vesture, 
situated in the interfusion of the natural humours (imtizdj-i 
tab ) and in the union (ittihdd) of body and spirit. To this 
I reply, that by universal consent the name of " human being" 
belongs to sane men and mad, and to infidels and immoral 
and ignorant persons, in whom there is no such " mystery " 
and who suffer decay and eat and drink ; and that there is not 
anything called " Man " in the body, either while it exists or 
after it has ceased to exist. God Almighty has given the 
name of " Man " to the sum of the substances which He 
compounded in us, excluding those things which are not to 
be found in some human beings, e.g. in the verses "And We 
have created Man of the choicest clay" etc. (Kor. xxiii, 12-14). 
Therefore, according to the word of God, who is the most 
veracious of all who speak the Truth, this particular form, with 
all its ingredients and with all the changes which it undergoes, 


is " Man ". In like manner, certain Sunm s have said that Man 
is a living creature whose form has these characteristics, and 
that death does not deprive him of this name, and that he is 
endowed with a definite physiognomy (stirat-i mcthiid) and 
a distinct organ (dlat-i mawsiint) both externally and internally. 
By " a definite physiognomy " they mean that he has either 
good or ill health, and by " a distinct organ " that he is either 
mad or sane. It is generally allowed that the more sound 
(sahtJt) a thing is, the more perfect it is in constitution. You 
must know, then, that in the opinion of mystics the most 
perfect composition of Man includes three elements, viz. spirit, 
soul, and body ; and that each of these has an attribute which 
subsists therein, the attribute of spirit being intelligence, of 
soul, passion, and of body, sensation. Man is a type of the 
whole universe. The universe is the name of the two worlds, 
and in Man there is a vestige of both, for he is composed of 
phlegm, blood, bile, and melancholy, which four humours 
correspond to the four elements of this world, viz. water, earth, 
air, and fire, while his soul (jdri), his lower soul (nafs\ and his 
body correspond to Paradise, Hell, and the place of Resurrection. 
Paradise is the effect of God s satisfaction, and Hell is the 
result of His anger. Similarly, the spirit of the true believer 
reflects the peace of knowledge, and his lower soul the error 
which veils him from God. As, at the Resurrection, the 
believer must be released from Hell before he can reach 
Paradise and attain to real vision and pure love, so in this 
world he must escape from his lower soul before he can attain 
to real discipleship (irddat), of which the spirit is the principle, 
and to real proximity (to God) and gnosis. Hence, whoever 
knows Him in this world and turns away from all besides 
and follows the highway of the sacred law, at the Resurrection 
he will not see Hell and the Bridge (Sirdf). In short, the 
believer s spirit calls him to Paradise, of which it is a type 
in this world, and his lower soul calls him to Hell, of which 
it is a type in this world. Therefore it behoves those who 
seek God never to relax their resistance to the lower soul, in 


order that thereby they may reinforce the spirit and the 
intelligence, which are the home of the Divine mystery. 


As regards what has been said by the Shaykhs concerning 
the lower soul, Dhu 1-Nun the Egyptian says: "Vision of 
the lower soul and its promptings is the worst of veils," 
because obedience to it is disobedience to God, which is the 
origin of all veils. Abu Yazid Bistami says: "The lower 
soul, is an attribute which never rests save in falsehood/ 
i.e. it never seeks the Truth. Muhammad b. AH al-Tirmidhi 
says : " You wish to know God while your lower soul subsists 
in you ; but your lower soul does not know itself, how should 
it know another?" Junayd says: " To fulfil the desires of 
your lower soul is the foundation of infidelity," because the 
lower soul is not connected with, and is always striving to 
turn away from, the pure truth of Islam ; and he who turns 
away denies, and he who denies is an alien (btgdnci). Abu 
Sulayman Darani says: "The lower soul is treacherous and 
hindering (one who seeks to please God) ; and resistance to it 
is the best of actions." 

Now I come to my main purpose, which is to set forth 
the doctrine of Sahl concerning the mortification and discipline 
of the lower soul, and to explain its true nature. 

Discourse on the Mortification of the Lower Soul. 
God has said : " Those who strive to the utmost (jahadu) for 
Our sake, We will guide them into Our ways" (Kor. xxix, 69). 
And the Prophet said : " The (mujdhid) is he who struggles 
with all his might against himself (jdhada nafsaJni} for God s 
sake." And he also said : " We have returned from the lesser 
war (al-jihdd al-asghar] to the greater war (al-jihdd al-akbar\ 
On_ being asked, "What is the greater war?" he replied, 
" Itjs the struggle against one s self" (mnjdhadat al-nafs}. 
Thus the Apostle adjudged the mortification of the lower 
soul to be superior to the Holy War against unbelievers, 


because the former is more painful. You must know, then, 
that the way of mortification is plain and manifest, for it is 
approved by men of all religions and sects, and is observed 
and practised by the Sufis in particular; and the term "morti 
fication " (mujdhadaf) is current among Sufis of every class, 
and the Shaykhs have uttered many sayings on this topic. 
Sahl b. Abdallah Tustarf carries the principle to an extreme 
point. It is related that he used to break his fast only once 
in fifteen days, and he ate but little food in the course of his 
long life. While all mystics have affirmed the need of 
mortification, and have declared it to bs an indirect means 
(asbdb] of attaining contemplation (tnushdhadat}^ Sahl asserted 
that mortification is the direct cause ( illaf) of the latter, and 
he attributed to search (talati) a powerful effect on attainment 
(ydff), so that he even regarded the present life, spent in 
search, as superior to the future life of fruition. " If," he said, 
"you serve God in this world, you will attain proximity to 
Him in the next world : without that service there would not 
be this proximity : it follows that self-mortification, practised 
with the aid of God, is the direct cause of union with God." 
Others, on the contrary, hold that there is no direct cause of 
union with God, and whoever attains to God does so by 
Divine grace (fadl), which is independent of human actions. 
Therefore, they argue, the object of mortification is to correct 
the vices of the lower soul, not to attain real proximity, 
and inasmuch as mortification is referred to Man, while con 
templation is referred to God, it is impossible that one should 
be caused by the other. Sahl, however, cites in favour of 
his view the words of God : " T/iose ivJw strive to the utmost 
for Our sake, We will guide them into Our ways " (Kor. xxix, 69), 
i.e. whoever mortifies himself will attain to contemplation. 
Furthermore, he contends that inasmuch as the books revealed 
to the Prophets, and the Sacred Law, and all the religious 
ordinances imposed on mankind involve mortification, they 
must all be false and vain if mortification were not the cause 
of contemplation. Again, both .in this world and the next, 


everything is connected with principles and causes. If it is 
maintained that principles have no causes, there is an end of 
all law and order : neither can religious obligations be justified 
nor will food be the cause of repletion and clothes the cause 
of warmth. Accordingly, to regard actions as being caused 
is Unification (tawktd)^ and to rebut this is Nullification (ta til). 
He who asserts it is proving the existence of contemplation, 
and he who denies it is denying the existence of contemplation. 
Does not training (riyddat) alter the animal qualities of a wild 
horse and substitute human qualities in their stead, so that 
he will pick up a whip from the ground and give it to his 
master, or will roll a ball with his foot ? In the same way, 
a boy without sense and of foreign race is taught by training 
to speak Arabic, and take a new language in exchange for 
his mother tongue; and a savage beast is trained to go away 
when leave is given to it, and to come back when it is called, 
preferring captivity to freedom. 1 Therefore, Sahl and his 
followers argue, mortification is just as necessary for the 
attainment of union with God as diction and composition 
are necessary for the elucidation of ideas ; and as one is led 
to knowledge of the Creator by assurance that the universe 
was created in time, so one is led to union with God by 
knowledge and mortification of the lower soul. 

I will now state the arguments of the opposing party. They 
maintain that the verse of the Koran (xxix, 69) cited by Sahl 
is a hysteron proteron, and that the meaning of it is, " Those 
whom We guide into Our ways strive to the utmost for Our 
sake." And the Apostle said : " Not one of you shall be saved 
by his works." " O Apostle," they cried, " not even thou ? " 
" Not even I," he said, " unless God encompass me with 
His mercy." Now, mortification is a man s act, and his act 
cannot possibly become the cause of his salvation, which 
depends on the Divine Will, as God hath said : " Whomsoever 
God wishes to lead aright, He will open his breast to receive 

1 Here follows an account of the mortification which the Prophet imposed on 


Islam, bitt whomsoever He wishes to lead astray, He will make 
his breast strait and narrow" (Kor. vi, 125). By affirming His 
will, He denies the (effect of the) religious ordinances which 
have been laid upon mankind. If mortification were the cause 
of union Ibh s would not have been damned, or if neglect of 
mortification were the cause of damnation Adam would never 
have been blessed. The result hangs on predestined grace 
(^indyaf], not on abundance of mortification. It is not the case 
that he who most exerts himself is the most secure, but that 
he who has most grace is nearest to God. A monk worshipping 
in his cell may be far from God, and a sinner in the tavern 
may be near to Him. The noblest thing in the world is 
the faith of a child who is not subject to the religious law 
(jnukallaf) and in this respect belongs to the same category 
as madmen : if, then, mortification is not the cause of the 
noblest of all gifts, no cause is necessary for anything that 
is inferior. 

I, All b. Uthman al-Jullabi, say that the difference between 
the two parties in this controversy lies in expression ( ibdrat). 
One says, " He who seeks shall find," and the other says, " He 
who finds shall seek." Seeking is the cause of finding, but 
it is no less true that finding is the cause of seeking. The 
one party practises mortification for the purpose of attaining 
contemplation, and the other party practises contemplation 
for the purpose of attaining mortification. The fact is that 
mortification stands in the same relation to contemplation 
as Divine blessing (tawfiq\ which is a gift from God, to 
obedience (td ai) : as it is absurd to seek obedience without 
Divine blessing, so it is absurd to seek Divine blessing 
without obedience, and as there can be no mortification without 
contemplation, so there can be no contemplation without 
mortification. Man is guided to mortification by a flash of the 
Divine Beauty, and inasmuch as that flash is the cause of the 
existence of mortification, Divine guidance (Jiiddyaf) precedes 

Now, as regards the argument of Sahl and his followers 


that failure to affirm mortification involves the denial of all 
the religious ordinances which have come down in the books 
revealed to the Prophets, this statement requires correction. 
Religious obligations (takltf) depend on Divine guidance 
(Jiiddyat\ and acts of mortification only serve to affirm the 
proofs of God, not to effect real union with Him. God has 
said : "And though We had sent down the angels unto them and 
the dead had spoken unto them and We had gathered before them 
all things together, they would not have believed unless God had 
so willed" (Kor. vi, in), for the cause of belief is Our will, 
not evidences or mortification. Accordingly, the revelations 
of the Prophets and the ordinances of religion are a means 
(asbdti) of attaining to union, but are not the cause (^illaf) of 
union. So far as religious obligations are concerned, Abu 
Bakr was in the same position as Abu Jahl, but Abu Bakr, 
having justice and grace, attained, whereas Abu Jahl, having 
justice without grace, failed. Therefore the cause of attainment 
is attainment itself, not the act of seeking attainment, for if 
the seeker were one with the object sought the seeker would 
be one, and in that case he would not be a seeker, because he 
who has attained is at rest, which the seeker cannot be. 

Again, in reference to their argument that the qualities of 
a horse are altered by mortification, you must know that 
mortification is only a means of bringing out qualities that are 
already latent in the horse but do not appear until he has been 
trained. Mortification will never turn a donkey into a horse 
or a horse into a donkey, because this involves a change of 
identity ; and since mortification has not the power of trans 
forming identity it cannot possibly be affirmed in the presence 
of God. 

Over that spiritual director, namely, Sahl, there used to pass 
a mortification of which he was independent and which, while 
he was in the reality thereof, he was unable to express in 
words. He was not like some who have made it their religion 
to talk about mortification without practising it. How absurd 
that what ought to consist wholly in action should become 


nothing but words ! In short, the Sufis are unanimous in 
recognizing the existence of mortification and discipline, but 
hold that it is wrong to pay regard to them. Those who deny 
mortification do not mean to deny its reality, but only to deny 
that any regard should be paid to it or that anyone should be 
pleased with his own actions in the place of holiness, inasmuch 
as mortification is the act of Man, while contemplation is a state 
in which one is kept by God, and a man s actions do not begin 
to have value until God keeps him thus. The mortification of 
those whom God loves is the work of God in them without 
choice on their part : it overwhelms and melts them away ; but 
the mortification of ignorant men is the work of themselves in 
themselves by their own choice: it perturbs and distresses them, 
and distress is due to evil. Therefore, do not speak of thine 
own actions while thou canst avoid it, and never in any 
circumstances follow thy lower soul, for it is thy phenomenal 
being that veils thee from God. If thou wert veiled by one act 
alone, thou mightest be unveiled by another, but since thy whole 
being is a veil thou wilt not become worthy of subsistence 
(baqa} until thou art wholly annihilated. It is related in a well- 
known anecdote that Husayn b. Mansur (al-Hallaj) came to 
Kufa and lodged in the house of Muhammad b. al-Husayn al- 
Alawi. Ibrahim Khawwas also came to Kufa, and, having heard 
of al-Hallaj, went to see him. Al-Hallaj said: "O Ibrahim, 
during these forty years of your connexion with Sufiism, what 
have you gained from it ? " Ibrahim answered : " I have made 
the doctrine of trust in God (tawakkuf) peculiarly my own." 
Al-Hallaj said : " You have wasted your life in cultivating your 
spiritual nature : what has become of annihilation in Unification 
(al-fand fi l-tawhid)~!" i.e. "trust in God is a term denoting 
your conduct towards God and your spiritual excellence in 
regard to relying on Him : if a man spends his whole life in 
remedying his spiritual nature, he will need another life for 
remedying his material nature, and his life will be lost before he 
has found a trace or vestige of God ". And a story is told of 
Shaykh Abu All Siyah of Merv, that he said: "I saw my lower 


soul in a form resembling my own, and some one had seized it 
by its hair and gave it into my hands. I bound it to a tree and 
was about to destroy it, when it cried out, * O Abu All, do not 
trouble yourself. I am God s army (lashkar-i khuddyam) : you 
cannot reduce me to naught. " And it is related concerning 
Muhammad b. Ulyan of Nasa, an eminent companion of 
Junayd, that he said : " In my novitiate, when I had become 
aware of the corruptions of the lower soul and acquainted with 
its places of ambush, I always felt a violent hatred of it in my 
heart. One day something like a young fox came forth from 
my throat, and God caused me to know that it was my lower 
soul. I cast it under my feet, and at every kick that I gave it, 
it grew bigger. I said: Other things are destroyed by pain and 
blows : why dost thou increase ? It replied : Because I was 
created perverse : that which is pain to other things is pleasure 
to me, and their pleasure is my pain. 5) Shaykh Abu l- Abbas 
Shaqani, who was the Imam of his time, said: "One day I came 
into my house and found a yellow dog lying there, asleep. 
Thinking it had come in from the street, I was about to turn it 
out. It crept under my skirt and vanished." Shaykh Abu 1- 
Qasim Gurgani, who to-day is the Qutb may God prolong 
his life! relates, speaking of his novitiate, that he saw his lower 
soul in the form of a snake. A dervish said : " I saw my lower 
soul in the shape of a mouse. Who art thou? I asked. It 
answered : I am the destruction of the heedless, for I urge 
them to evil, and the salvation of those who love God, for if 
I were not with them in my corruption they would be puffed 
up with pride in their purity. " 

All these stories prove that the lower soul is a real substance 
(^ayni\ not a mere attribute, and that it has attributes which 
we clearly perceive. The Apostle said : " Thy worst enemy 
is thy lower soul, which is between thy two sides." When 
you have obtained knowledge of it you recognize that it can 
be mastered by discipline, but that its essence and substance 
do not perish. If it is rightly known and under control, the 
seeker need not care though it continues to exist in him. 


Hence the purpose of mortifying the lower soul is to destroy 
its attributes, not to annihilate its reality. Now I will discuss 
the true nature of passion and the renunciation of lusts. 

Discourse on the true nature of Passion (hawa). 

You must know that, according to the opinion of some, 
passion is a term applied to the attributes of the lower soul, but, 
according to others, a term denoting the natural volition (irddat-i 
tab 1 ) whereby the lower soul is controlled and directed, just as 
the spirit is controlled by the intelligence. __Every spirit that is 
devoid of the faculty of intelligence is imperfect, and similarly 
every lower soul that is devoid of the faculty of passion is 
imperfect Maji is continually being called by intelligence 
and passion_jnto_contrary .ways., If^he obeys the call of 
intelligence he attains to faith, but if he obeys the call of 
passion he arrives at error and infidelity. Therefore passion 
is a veil and a false guide, and man is commanded to resist 
it. Passion is of two kinds: (i) desire of pleasure and lust, 
and (2) desire of worldly honour and authority. He who 
follows pleasure and lust haunts taverns, and mankind are 
safe from his mischief, but he who desires honour and authority 
lives in cells (sawdmi*) and monasteries, and not only has 
lost the right way himself but also leads others into error. 
One whose every act depends on passion, and who finds 
satisfaction in following it, is far from God although he be 
with you in a mosque, but one who has renounced and 
abandoned it is near to God although he be in a church. 
Ibrahim Khawwas relates this anecdote : " Once I heard that 
in Rum there was a monk who had been seventy years in 
a monastery. I said to myself: Wonderful! Forty years 
is the term of monastic vows : what is the state of this man 
that he has remained there for seventy years ? I went to 
see him. When I approached, he opened a window and said 
to me : O Ibrahim, I know why you have come. I have 
not stayed here for seventy years because of monastic vows, 
but I have a dog foul with passion, and I have taken my 


abode in this monastery for the purpose of guarding the dog 
(sagbdni), and preventing it from doing harm to others. On 
hearing him say this I exclaimed : O Lord, Thou art able 
to bestow righteousness on a man even though he be involved 
in sheer error. He said to me : O Ibrahim, how long will 
you seek men ? Go and seek yourself, and when you have 
found yourself keep watch over yourself, for this passion clothes 
itself every day in three hundred and sixty diverse garments 
of godhead and leads men astray. " 

In short, the devil cannot enter a man s heart until he 
desires to commit a sin : but when a certain quantity of 
passion appears, the devil takes it and decks it out and 
displays it to the man s heart ; and this is called diabolic 
suggestion (waswds). It begins from passion, and in reference 
to this fact God said to Iblfs when he threatened to seduce 
all mankind : " Verily, thou hast no power over My servants " 
(Kor. xv, 42), for the devil in reality is a man s lower soul 
and passion. Hence the Apostle said : " There is no one 
whom his devil (i.e. his passion) has not subdued except 
Umar, for he has subdued his devil." Passion is mingled 
as an ingredient in the clay of Adam ; whoever renounces it 
becomes a prince and whoever follows it becomes a captive. 
Junayd was asked : " What is union with God ? " He replied : 
" To renounce passion," for of all the acts of devotion by 
which God s favour i s sought none has greater value than 
resistance to passion, because it is easier for a man to destroy 
a mountain with his nails than to resist passion. I have 
read in the Anecdotes that Dhu 1-Nun the Egyptian said : 
" I saw a man flying through the air, and asked him how 
he had attained to this degree. He answered : I set my 
feet on passion (haw a) in order that I might ascend into 

the air (hawa}! " It is related that Muhammad b. Fadl 


al-Balkhi said : " I marvel at one who goes with his passion 

into God s House and visits Him : why does not he trample 
on his passion that he may attain to Him ? " 

The most manifest attribute of the lower soul is lust (shahwaf). 


Lust is a thing that is dispersed in different parts of the human 
body, and is served by the senses. Man is bound to guard all 
his members from it, -and he shall be questioned concerning the 
acts of each. The lust of the eye is sight, that of the ear is 
hearing, that of the nose is smell, that of the tongue is speech, 
that of the palate is taste, that of the body (jasad) is touch, 
and that of the mind is thought (andishtdari). It behoves the 
seeker of God to spend his whole life, day and night, in ridding 
himself of these incitements to passion which show themselves 
through the senses, and to pray God to make him such that this 
desire will be removed from his inward nature, since whoever is 
afflicted with lust is veiled from all spiritual things. If anyone 
should repel it by his own exertions, his task would be long and 
painful. The right way is resignation (taslini}. It is related 
that Abu All Siyah of Merv said : " I had gone to the bath 
and in accordance with the custom of the Prophet I was using 
a razor (pubis tondenda causa]. I said to myself: O Abu AH, 
amputate this member which is the source of all lusts and keeps 
thee afflicted with so much evil/ A voice in my heart whispered : 
O Abu All, wilt thou interfere in My kingdom? Are not all 
thy limbs equally at My disposal ? If thou do this, I swear by 
My glory that I will put a hundredfold lust and passion in every 
hair in that place. >: 

Although a man has no power over what is vicious in his 
constitution, he x can get an attribute changed by Divine aid and 
by resigning himself to God s will and by divesting himself of 
his own power and strength. In reality, when he resigns him 
self, God protects him ; and through God s protection he comes 
nearer to annihilating the evil than he does through self- 
mortification, since flies are more easily driven away with an 
umbrella (mikanna) than with a fly-whisk (midJiabba^). Unless 
Divine protection is predestined to a man, he cannot abstain 
from anything by his own exertion, and unless God exerts 
Himself towards a man, that man s exertion is of no use. All 
acts of exertion fall under two heads : their object is either to 
avert the predestination of God or to acquire something in spite 



of predestination ; and both these objects are impossible. It is 
related that when Shibli was ill, the physician advised him to be 
abstinent. " From what shall I abstain ? " said he, " from that 
which God bestows upon me, or from that which He does not 
bestow? It is impossible to abstain from the former, and the 
latter is not in my hands." I will discuss this question carefully 
on another occasion. 


They are the followers of Abu Abdallah Muhammad b. All 
al- Hakim al-Tirmidhi, who was one of the religious leaders 
of his time and the author of many works on every branch 
of exoteric and esoteric science. His doctrine was based on 
saintship [wildyaf], and he used to explain the true nature 
of saintship and the degrees of the saints and the observance 
of the proper arrangement of their ranks. 

As the first step towards understanding his doctrine, you 
must know that God has saints (awliyd\ whom He has chosen 
out of mankind, and whose thoughts He has withdrawn from 
worldly ties and delivered from sensual temptations ; and He 
has stationed each of them in a particular degree, and has 
opened unto them the door of these mysteries. Much might 
be said on this topic, but I must briefly set forth several points 
of capital importance. 

Discourse on the Affirmation of Saintship (wilayat). 

You must know that the principle and foundation of Sufiism 
and knowledge of God rests on saintship, the reality of which 
is unanimously affirmed by all the Shaykhs, though every one 
has expressed himself in different language. The peculiarity 
of Muhammad b. All (al-Hakim) lies in the fact that he applied 
this term to the theory of Sufiism. 

Waldyat means, etymologically, "power to dispose" (tasarruf), 
and wilayat means " possession of command " (imdrafy Waldyat 
also means " lordship" (rububiyyaf) ; hence God hath said : "In 
this case the lordship (al-walayat) belongs to God who is the 


Truth " (Kor. xviii, 42), because the unbelievers seek His 
protection and turn unto Him and renounce their idols. And 
wildyat also means " love " (inahabbaf). Wall may be the form 
fctil with the meaning of maf-id, as God hath said : "And He 
takes charge ^/"(yatawalla) the righteous " (Kor. vii, 195), for God 
does not leave His servant to his own actions and attributes, 
but keeps him under His protection. And wall may be the 
form fa il, equivalent to fd il, with an intensive force, because 
a man takes care (tawalli kunad) to obey God and constantly 
to fulfil the obligations that he owes to Him. Thus wait in 
the active meaning is "one who desires" (inurtd), while in the 
passive meaning it denotes " one who is the object of God s 
desire" (murdd). All these meanings, whether they signify the 
relation of God to Man or that of Man to God, are allowable, 
for God may be the protector of His friends, inasmuch as He 
promised His protection to the Companions of the Apostle, 
and declared that the unbelievers had no protector (mawla). 1 
And, moreover, He may distinguish them in an exclusive way 
by His friendship, as He hath said, " He loves them and they 
love Him " (Kor. v, 59), so that they turn away from the favour 
of mankind : He is their friend (waif) and they are His friends 
(awliyd). And He may confer on one a " friendship " (wildyat) 
that enables him to persevere in obedience to Him, and keeps 
him free from sin, and on another a " friendship " that empowers 
him to loose and bind, and makes his prayers answered and his 
aspirations effectual, as the Apostle said : " There is many a one 
with dirty hair, dust-stained, clad in two old garments, whom 
men never heed ; but if he were to swear by God, God would 
verify his oath." It is well known that in the Caliphate of 
Umar b. al-Khattab, the Nile, in accordance with its usual 
habit, ceased to flow ; for in the time of Paganism they used 
annually to adorn a maiden and throw her into the river to 
make it flow again. Umar therefore wrote on a piece of 
paper : " O river, if thou hast stopped of thy own will, thou 

1 Kor. xlvii, 12. 


doest wrong, and if by command of God, Umar bids thee flow. 
When this paper was thrown in, the Nile resumed its course. 

My purpose in discussing saintship and affirming its reality 
is to show you that the name of saint (wait) is properly 
applied to those in whom the above-mentioned qualities are 
actually present (hat) and not merely reputed (qdl). Certain 
Shaykhs formerly composed books on this subject, but they 
became rare and soon disappeared. Now I will commend to 
you the explanation given by that venerable spiritual director 
who is the author of the doctrine for my own belief in it is 
greater in order that much instruction may be gained, not 
only by yourself, but also by every seeker of Sufiism who 
may have the good fortune to read this book. 


You must know that the word wait is current among the 
vulgar, and is to be found in the Koran and the Apostolic 
Traditions : e.g., God hath said, " Verily, on the friends 
(awliya) of God no fear shall come, and they shall not grieve " 
(Kor. x, 63) ; and again, " God is the friend (wall) of those who 
believe" (Kor. ii, 258). And the Apostle said: "Among the 
servants of God there are some whom the prophets and martyrs 
deem happy." He was asked : " Who are they ? Describe 
them to us that perchance we may love them." He replied : 
" Those who love one another, through God s mercy, without 
wealth and without seeking a livelihood : their faces are 
luminous, and they sit on thrones of light ; they are not afraid 
when men are afraid, nor do they grieve when men grieve." 
Then he recited : " Verily, on the friends of God no fear shall 
come, and they shall not grieve" (Kor. x, 63). Furthermore, 
the Apostle said that God said : " He who hurts a saint (wait) 
has allowed himself to make war on Me." 

These passages show that God has saints (aivliya) whom 
He has specially distinguished by His friendship and whom He 
has chosen to be the governors of His kingdom and has 
marked out to manifest His actions and has peculiarly favoured 


with diverse kinds of miracles (kardmdf) and has purged of 
natural corruptions and has delivered from subjection to their 
lower soul and passion, so that all their thoughts are of Him 
and their intimacy is with Him alone. Such have been in 
past ages, and are now, and shall be hereafter until the Day 
of Resurrection, because God has exalted this (Moslem) 
community above all others and has promised to preserve the 
religion of Muhammad. Inasmuch as the traditional and 
intellectual proofs of this religion are to be found among the 
divines (^ulamd\ it follows that the visible proof is to be found 
among the Saints and elect of God. Here we have two parties 
opposed to us, namely, the Mu tazilites and the rank and file 
of the Anthropomorphists (Hashwiyya). The Mu tazilites deny 
that one Moslem is specially privileged more than another ; 
but if a saint is not specially privileged, neither is a prophet 
specially privileged ; and this is infidelity. The vulgar Anthropo 
morphists allow that special privileges may be conferred, but 
assert that such privileged persons no longer exist, although 
they did exist in the past. It is all the same, however, whether 
they deny the past or the future, since one side of denial is no 
better than another. 

God, then, has caused the prophetic evidence (burhdn-i 
nabawi) to remain down to the present day, and has made the 
Saints the means whereby it is manifested, in order that the 
signs of the Truth and the proof of Muhammad s veracity may 
continue to be clearly seen. He has made the Saints the 
governors of the universe ; they have become entirely devoted 
to His business, and have ceased to follow their sensual 
affections. Through the blessing of their advent the rain falls 
from heaven, and through the purity of their lives the plants 
spring up from the earth, and through their spiritual influence 
the Moslems gain victories over the unbelievers. Among them 
there are four thousand who are concealed and do not know 
one another and are not aware of the excellence of their state, 
but in all circumstances are hidden from themselves and from 
mankind. Traditions have come down to this effect, and the 


sayings of the Saints proclaim the truth thereof, and I myself 
God be praised ! have had ocular experience (khabar-i iydn) 
of this matter. But of those who have power to loose and to 
bind and are the officers of the Divine court there are three 
hundred, called Akhydr, and forty, called Abddl, and seven, 
called Abrdr, and four, called Awtdd, and three, called Nuqabd, 
and one, called Qutb or Ghawth. All these know one another 
and cannot act save by mutual consent. 

Here the vulgar may object to my assertion that they know 
one another to be saints, on the ground that, if such is the case, 
they must be secure as to their fate in the next world. I reply 
that it is absurd to suppose that knowledge of saintship involves 
security. A believer may have knowledge of his faith and 
yet not be secure : why should not the same hold good of 
a saint who has knowledge of his saintship ? Nevertheless, it 
is possible that God should miraculously cause the saint to 
know his security in regard to the future life, while maintaining 
him in a state of spiritual soundness and preserving him from 
disobedience. The Shaykhs differ on this question for the 
reason which I have explained. Those belonging to the four 
thousand who are concealed do not admit that the saint can 
know himself to be such, whereas those of the other class take 
the contrary view. Each opinion is supported by many lawyers 
and scholastics. Abu Ishaq Isfara ini 1 and some of the ancients 
hold that a saint is ignorant of his saintship, while Abu Bakr 
b. Furak 2 and others of the past generation hold that he is 
conscious of it. I ask the former party, what loss or evil does 
a saint suffer by knowing himself? If they allege that he is 
conceited when he knows himself to be a saint, I answer that 
Divine protection is a necessary condition of saintship, and one 
who is protected from evil cannot fall into self-conceit. It is 
a very common notion [sukhanri sakht dmiydnd) that a saint, 
to whom extraordinary miracles (kardmdf) are continually 
vouchsafed, does not know himself to be a saint or these 

1 See Ibn Khallikan, No. 4. 

- See Ibn Khallikan, No. 621 ; Brockelmann, i, 166. 


miracles to be miracles. Both parties have adherents among 
the common people, but opinion is of no account. 

The Mu tazilites, however, deny special privileges and 
miracles, which constitute the essence of saintship. They affirm 
that all Moslems are friends (awliya) of God when they are 
obedient to Him, and that anyone who fulfils the ordinances 
of the Faith and denies the attributes and vision of God and 
allows believers to be eternally damned in Hell and acknow 
ledges only such obligations as are imposed by Reason, without 
regard to Revelation, is a " friend" (wall}. All Moslems agree 
that such a person is a- " friend ", but a friend of the Devil 
The Mu tazilites also maintain "that, if saintship involved 
miracles, all believers must have miracles vouchsafed to them, 
because they all share in faith (imdn), and if they share in 
what is fundamental they must likewise share in what is 
derivative. They say, further, that miracles may be vouch 
safed both to believers and to infidels, e.g. when anyone is 
hungry or fatigued on a journey some person may appear in 
order to give him food or mount him on an animal for riding. 
If it were possible, they add, for anyone to traverse a great 
distance in one night, the Apostle must have been that man ; 
yet, when he set out for Mecca, God said, "And they (the 
animals) carry your burdens to a land ivJiich ye would not have 
reached save with sore trouble to yourselves" (Kor. xvi, 7). 
I reply : "Your arguments are worthless, for God said, Glory to 
Him who transported His servant by night from the sacred 
mosque to the farther mosque " (Kor. xvii, i). Miracles are 
special, not general ; but it would have been a general instance 
if all the Companions had been miraculously conveyed to 
Mecca, and this would have destroyed all the principles of 
faith in the unseen. Faith is a general term, applicable to 
the righteous and the wicked alike, whereas saintship is special 
The journey of the Companions to Mecca falls under the former 
category, but inasmuch as the case of the Apostle was a special 
one, God conveyed him in one night from Mecca to Jerusalem, 
and thence to a space of two bow-lengths from the Divine 


presence ; and he returned ere the night was far spent. Again, 
to deny special privileges is manifestly unreasonable. As in 
a palace there are chamberlains, janitors, grooms, and viziers, 
who, although they are equally the king s servants, are not 
equal in rank, so all believers are equal in respect of their 
faith, but some are obedient, some wise, some pious, and some 


The Shaykhs, every one, have given hints as to the true 
meaning of saintship. Now I will bring together as many of 
these selected definitions as possible. 

Abu All Juzajani says : " The saint is annihilated in his own 
state and subsistent in the contemplation of the Truth : he can 
not tell anything concerning himself, nor can he rest with anyone 
except God," because a man has knowledge only of his own 
state, and when all his states are annihilated he cannot tell 
anything about himself; and he cannot rest with anyone else, 
to whom he might tell his state, because to communicate one s 
hidden state to another is to reveal the secret of the Beloved, 
which cannot be revealed except to the Beloved himself. 
Moreover, in contemplation it is impossible to regard aught 
except God : how, then, can he be at rest with mankind ? 
Junayd said : " The saint hath no fear, because fear is the 
expectation either of some future calamity or of the eventual 
loss of some object of desire, whereas the saint is the son of 
his time (ibn waqtihi) : he nas no future that he should fear 
anything ; and as he hath no fear so he hath no hope, since 
hope is the expectation either of gaining an object of desire 
or of being relieved from a misfortune, and this belongs to 
the future ; nor does he grieve, because grief arises from the 
rigour of time, and how should he feel grief who is in the 
radiance of satisfaction (ridd) and the garden of concord 
(muwdfaqaf)1" The vulgar imagine this saying to imply that, 
inasmuch as the saint feels neither fear nor hope nor grief, he 
has security (amn) in their place ; but he has not security, for 


security arises from not seeing that which is hidden, and from 
turning one s back on " time " ; and this (absence of security) 
is characteristic of those who pay no regard to their humanity 
(bashariyyaf) and are not content with attributes. Fear and 
hope and security and grief all refer to the interests of the 
lower soul, and when that is annihilated satisfaction (rida) 
becomes an attribute of Man, and when satisfaction has been 
attained his states become steadfast (inustaqim) in vision of 
the Author of states (inuhawwil\ and his back is turned on 
all states. Then saintship is revealed to his heart and its 
meaning is made clear to his inmost thoughts. Abu Uthman 
Maghribi says : " The saint is sometimes celebrated (inashMr), 
but he is not seduced (ntaft&t*)" and another says : " The saint 
is sometimes hidden (masttir), but he is not celebrated." 
Seduction consists in falsehood : inasmuch as the saint must 
be veracious, and miracles cannot possibly be performed by 
a liar, it follows that the saint is incapable of being seduced. 
These two sayings refer to the controversy whether the saint 
knows himself to be such : if he knows, he is celebrated, and 
if he does not know, he is seduced ; but the explanation of 
this is tedious. It is related that Ibrahim b. Adham asked 
a certain man whether he desired to be one of God s saints, 
and on his replying " Yes ", said : " Do not covet anything in 
this world or the next, and devote thyself entirely to God, 
and turn to God with all thy heart." To covet this world 
is to turn away from God for the sake of that which is 
transitory, and to covet the next world is to turn away from 
God for the sake of that which is everlasting : that which is 
transitory perishes and its renunciation becomes naught, but 
that which is everlasting cannot perish, hence its renunciation 
also is imperishable. Abu Yazid was asked: "Who is a saint?" 
He answered : " That one who is patient under the command 
and prohibition of God,"__because the more a man loves God 
the more does his heart revere what He commands and the 
farther is his body from what He forbids. It is related that 
Abu Yazid said: "Once I was told that a saint of God was 



in such and such a town. I set out to visit him. When 
I arrived at his mosque he came forth from his chamber and 
spat on the floor of the mosque. I turned back without 
saluting him, and said to myself: A saint must keep the 
religious law in order that God may keep him in his spiritual 
state. Had this man been a saint his respect for the mosque 
would have prevented him from spitting on its floor, or God 
would have preserved him from marring the grace vouchsafed 
to him. The same night I dreamed that the Apostle said 
to me, O Abu Yazid, the blessing of that which thou hast 
done is come to thee. Next day I attained to this degree 
which ye behold." And I have heard that a man who came 
to visit Shaykh Abu Sa fd entered the mosque with his left 
foot foremost. The Shaykh gave orders that he should be 
dismissed, saying : " He who does not know how to enter the 
house of the Friend is not suitable for us." Some heretics 
who have adopted this perilous doctrine assert that service of 
God (khidmaf) is necessary only while one is becoming a saint, 
but that after one has become a saint service is abolished. 
This is clearly wrong. There is no " station " on the way to 
the Truth where any obligation of service is abolished. I will 
explain this matter fully in its proper place. 

Discourse on the Affirmation of Miracles (ka^arriat). 

. " 
You must know that miracles may be vouchsafed to a saint 

so long as he does not infringe the obligations of the religious 
law. Both parties of the orthodox Moslems agree on this point, 
nor is it intellectually impossible, because such miracles are 
a species of that which is predestined by God, and their 
manifestation does not contradict any principle of the religious 
law, nor, on the other hand, is it repugnant to the mind to 
CQnceive them as a genus. A miracle is a token of a saint s 
racity, and it cannot be manifested to an impostor except 
as a sign that his pretensions are false. It is an extraordinary 
act (fi lt ndqid-i ddat\ performed while he is still subject to the 
obligations of religion ; and whoever is able, through knowledge^ 


given him by God, to distinguish by the method of deduction 
what is true from what is false, he too is a saint. Some Sunm s 
maintain that miracles are established, but not to the degree 
of an evidentiary miracle (mu jizat 1 ): they do not admit, for 
example, that prayers may be answered and fulfilled, and so 
forth, contrary to custom. I ask in reply : " What do you 
consider wrong in the performance by a true saint, while he 
is subject to religious obligations, of an act which violates 
custom?" If they say that it is not a species of that which 
is predestined by God, this statement is erroneous ; and if they 
say that it is a species of that which is predestined, but that its 
performance by a true saint involves the annulment of prophecy 
and the denial of special privileges to the prophets, this 
assertion also is inadmissible, since the saint is specially 
distinguished by miracles (kardmdf) and the prophet by 
evidentiary miracles (mu jizdt) ; and inasmuch as the saint is 
a saint and the prophet is a prophet, there is no likeness 
between them to justify such precaution. The pre-eminence 
of the prophets depends on their exalted rank and on their 
being preserved from the defilement of sin, not on miracles or 
evidentiary miracles or acts which violate custom. All the 
prophets are equal so far as they all have the power of working 
such miracles (?jdz\ but some are superior to others in degree. 
Since, then, notwithstanding this equality in regard to their 
actions, some prophets are superior to others, why should not 
miracles (kardmdf) which violate custom be vouchsafed also to 
the saints, although the prophets are superior to them ? And 
since, in the case of the prophets, an act which violates custom 
does not cause one of them to be more exalted or more 
specially privileged than another, so, in the case of the saints, 
a similar act does not cause a saint to be more specially 
privileged than a prophet, i.e. the saints do not become like in 
kind (hamsdn) to the prophets. This proof will clear away, for 
reasonable men, any difficulties that this matter may have 

1 The name mu jiwt is given to a miracle performed by a prophet, while one 
performed by a saint is called kardmat. 


presented to them. "But suppose," it may be said, "that 
a saint whose miracles violate custom should claim to be 
a prophet." I reply that this is impossible, because saintship 
involves veracity, and he who tells a falsehood is no saint. 
Moreover, a saint who pretends to prophesy casts an imputation 
on (the genuineness of) evidentiary miracles, which is in 
fidelity. Miracles (kardmdt) are vouchsafed only to a pious 
believer, and falsehood is impiety. That being so, the miracles 
of the saint confirm the evidence of the prophet. There is no 
difficulty in reconciling the two classes of miracles. The 
apostle establishes his prophecy by establishing the reality of 
evidentiary miracles, while the saint, by the miracles which he 
performs, establishes both the prophecy of the apostle and his 
own saintship. Therefore the veracious saint says the same 
thing as the veracious prophet. The miracles of the former are 
identical with the evidentiary miracles of the latter. A believer, 
seeing the miracles of a saint, has more faith in the veracity of 
the prophet, not more doubt, because there is no contradiction 
between the claims made by them. Similarly, in law, when 
a number of heirs are agreed in their claim, if one of them 
establishes his claim the claim of the others is established ; but 
not so if their claims are contradictory. Hence, when a prophet 
adduces evidentiary miracles as evidence that his prophecy is 
genuine, and when his claim is confirmed by a saint, it is 
impossible that any difficulty should arise. 

Discourse on the difference between Evidentiary Miracles 
(mu jizat) and Miracles (karamat). 

Inasmuch as it has been shown that neither class of miracles 
can be wrought by an impostor, we must now distinguish more 
clearly between them. Mu jizat involve publicity and kardmdt 
secrecy, because the result of the former is to affect others, 
while the latter are peculiar to the person by whom they are 
performed. Again, the doer of mu jizdt is quite sure that he has 
wrought an, extraordinary miracle, whereas the doer of kardmdt 
cannot be sure whether he has really wrought a miracle or 


whether he is insensibly deceived (istidrdf). He who performs 
mu jizdt has authority over the law, and in arranging it he 
denies or affirms, according as God commands him, that he is 
insensibly deceived. 1 On the other hand, he who performs 
kardmdt has no choice but to resign himself (to God s will) and 
to accept the ordinances that are laid upon him, because the 
kardmdt of a saint are never in any way incompatible with the 
law laid down by a prophet. It may be said : " If evidentiary 
miracles are the proof of a prophet s veracity, and if nevertheless 
you assert that miracles of the same kind may be performed by 
one who is not a prophet, then they become ordinary events 
(iniftdd) : therefore your proof of the reality of mifjizdt annuls 
your argument establishing the reality of kardmdt." I reply : 
"This is not the case. The kardmat of a saint is identical with, 
and displays the same evidence as, the mu jizat of a prophet : 
the quality of i jdz (inimitability) exhibited in the one instance 
does not impair the same quality in the other instance." When 
the infidels put Khubayb on the gallows at Mecca, the Apostle, 
who was then seated in the mosque at Medina, saw him and 
told the Companions what was being done to him. God also 
lifted the veil from the eyes of Khubayb, so that he saw the 
Apostle and cried, " Peace be with thee ! " and God caused 
the Apostle to hear his salutation, and caused Khubayb to hear 
the Apostle s answer. Now, the fact that the Apostle at Medina 
saw Khubayb at Mecca was an evidentiary miracle, and the fact 
that Khubayb at Mecca saw the Apostle at Medina was like 
wise an extraordinary act. Accordingly there is no difference 
between absence in time and absence in space ; for Khubayb s 
miracle (kardmat) was wrought when he was absent from the 
Apostle in space, and the miracles of later days were wrought 
by those who were absent from the Apostle in time. This is 
a clear distinction and a manifest proof that kardmdt cannot 
possibly be in contradiction with i jdz (miracles performed by 
a prophet). Kardmdt are not established unless they bear 
testimony to the truth of one who has performed a mu -jizat, 

1 B. omits the words "that he is insensibly deceived ". 


and they are not vouchsafed except to a pious believer who 
bears such testimony. Kardmdt of Moslems are an extra 
ordinary miracle (mu jizai) of the Apostle, for as his law is 
permanent so must his proof (hujjat) also be permanent. The 
saints are witnesses to the truth of the Apostle s mission, and it 
is impossible that a miracle (kardmai) should be wrought by 
an unbeliever (begdna). 

On this topic a story is related of Ibrahim Khawwas, which is 
very apposite here. Ibrahim said : " I went down into the 
desert in my usual state of detachment from worldly things 
(tajrid). After I had gone some distance a man appeared and 
begged me to let him be my companion, I looked at him and 
was conscious of a feeling of repugnance. He said to me : 
O Ibrahim, do not be vexed. I am a Christian, and one of 
the Sabians among them. I have come from the confines of 
Rum in the hope of being thy companion. When I knew that 
he was an unbeliever, I regained my equanimity, and felt it 
more easy to take him as my companion and to fulfil my 
obligations towards him. I said : O monk, I fear that* thou 
wilt suffer from want of meat and drink, for I have nothing 
with me. O Ibrahim/ said he, is thy fame in the world so 
great, and art thou still concerned about meat and drink? 
I marvelled at his boldness and accepted him as my companion 
in order to test his claim. After journeying seven days and 
nights we were overtaken by thirst. He stopped and cried : 
* O Ibrahim, they trumpet thy praise throughout the world. 
Now let me see what privileges of intimacy (gustdkhihd) thou 
hast in this court (i.e. to what extent thou art a favourite with 
God), for I can endure no more. I laid my head on the earth 
and cried : O Lord, do not shame me before this unbeliever, 
who thinks well of me ! When I raised my head I saw a dish 
on which were placed two loaves of bread and two cups of 
water. We ate and drank and went on our way. After seven 
days had passed I resolved to test him ere he should again 
put me to the proof. O monk, I said, now it is thy turn. 
Let me see the fruits of thy mortification. He laid his head 


on the earth and muttered something. Immediately a dish 
appeared containing four loaves and four cups of water. I was 
amazed and grieved, and I despaired of my state. This has 
appeared/ I said, for the sake of an unbeliever : how can 
I eat or drink thereof? He bade me taste, but I refused, 
saying, Thou art not worthy of this, and it is not in harmony 
with thy spiritual condition. If I regard it as a miracle 
(kardmat\ miracles are not vouchsafed to unbelievers ; and if 
I regard it as a contribution (ma iinaf] from thee, I must 
suspect thee of being an impostor. He said : Taste, O Ibrahim ! 
I give thee joy of two things : firstly, of my conversion to 
Islam (here he uttered the profession of faith), and secondly, 
of the great honour in which thou art held by God. * How 
so ? I asked. He answered : I have no miraculous powers, 
but my shame on account of thee made me lay my head on 
the earth and beg God to give me two loaves and two cups 
of water if the religion of Muhammad is true, and two more 
loaves and cups if Ibrahim Khawwas is one of God s saints. " 
Then Ibrahim ate and drank, and the man who had been 
a monk rose to eminence in Islam. 

Now, this violation of custom, although attached to the 
kardmat of a saint, is identical with the evidentiary miracles 
which are wrought by prophets, but it is rare that in a prophet s 
absence an evidence should be vouchsafed to another person, or 
that in the presence of a saint some portion of his miraculous 
powers should be transferred to another person. In fact, the end 
of saintship is only the beginning of prophecy. That monk was 
one of the hidden (saints), like Pharaoh s magicians. Ibrahim 
confirmed the Prophet s power to violate custom, and his com 
panion also was endeavouring both to confirm prophecy and to 
glorify saintship ; a purpose which God in His eternal providence 
fulfilled. This is a clear difference between kardmat and i jdz. 
The manifestation of miracles to the saints is a second miracle, 
for they ought to be kept secret, not intentionally divulged. 
My Shaykh used to say that if a saint reveals his saintship and 
claims to be a saint, the soundness of his spiritual state is not 


impaired thereby, but if he takes pains to obtain publicity he is 
led astray by self-conceit. 

Discourse on the performance of miracles belonging to the 
evidentiary class by tJiose who pretend to godship. 

The Shaykhs of this sect and all orthodox Moslems are 
agreed that an extraordinary act resembling a prophetic miracle 
(intfjizaf) may be performed by an unbeliever, in order that by 
means of his performance he may be shown beyond doubt to be 
an impostor. Thus, for example, Pharaoh lived four hundred 
years without once falling ill ; and when he climbed up to any 
high ground the water followed him, and stopped when he 
stopped, and moved when he moved. Nevertheless, intelligent 
men did not hesitate to deny his pretensions to godship, 
inasmuch as every intelligent person acknowledges that God is 
not incarnate (mujassani) and composite (jnurakkab). You will 
judge by analogy the wondrous acts related of Shaddad, who was 
the lord of Irani, and Nimrod. Similarly, we are told on trust 
worthy authority that in the last days Dajjal will come and will 
claim godship, and that two mountains will go with him, one on 
his right hand and the other on his left ; and that the mountain 
on his right hand will be the place of felicity, and the mountain 
on his left hand will be the place of torment ; and that he will 
call the people to himself and will punish those who refuse to 
join him. But though he should perform a hundredfold amount 
of such extraordinary acts, no intelligent person would doubt 
the falsity of his claim, for it is well known that God does not 
sit on an ass and is not blind. Such things fall under the 
principle of Divine deception \istidrdf). So, again, one who 
falsely pretends to be an apostle may perform an extraordinary 
act, which proves him an impostor, just as a similar act per 
formed by a true apostle proves him genuine. But no such act 
can be performed if there be any possibility of doubt or any 
difficulty in distinguishing the true claimant from the impostor, 
for in that case the principle of allegiance (bay af] would be 
nullified. It is possible, moreover, that something of the same 


kind as a miracle (kardmat) may be performed by a pretender to 
saintship who, although his conduct is bad, is blameless in his 
religion, inasmuch as by that miraculous act he confirms the 
truth of the Apostle and manifests the grace of God vouchsafed 
to him and does not attribute the act in question to his own 
power. One who speaks the truth, without evidence, in the 
fundamental matter of faith (imdn\ will always speak the 
truth, with evidence and firm belief, in the matter of saintship, 
because his belief is of the same quality as the belief of the saint ; 
and though his actions do not square with his belief, his claim of 
saintship is not demonstrably contradicted by his evil conduct, 
any more than his claim of faith could be. In fact, miracles 
(kardindf) and saintship are Divine gifts, not things acquired by 
Man, so that human actions (kasb) cannot become the cause of 
Divine guidance. 

I have already said that the saints are not preserved from 
sin (mcts&m) y for sinlessness belongs to the prophets, but 
they are protected (inahfiiz) from any evil that involves the 
denial of their saintship ; and the denial of saintship, after 
it has come into being, depends on something inconsistent 
with faith, namely, apostasy (riddaf) : it does not depend on 
sin. This is the doctrine of Muhammad b. All Hakim of 
Tirmidh, and also of Junayd, Abu 1-Hasan Nun, Harith 
Muhasibi, and many other mystics (ahl-i Jiaqd tq). But those 
who attach importance to conduct (ahl-i mu dmaldfy like 
Sahl b. Abdallah of Tustar, Abu Sulayman Darani, Hamdun 
Qassar, and others, maintain that saintship involves unceasing 
obedience (td ai), and that when a great sin (kabtra) occurs to 
the mind of a saint he is deposed from his saintship. Now, 
as I have stated before, there is a consensus of opinion 
(ijind*) among Moslems that a great sin does not put 
anyone outside the pale of faith ; and one saintship (wildyat) 
is no better than another. Therefore, since the saintship of 
knowledge of God (ma rifat), which is the foundation of all 
miracles vouchsafed by Divine grace (kardmathd\ is not lost 
through sin, it is impossible that what is inferior to that in 



excellence and grace (kardmaf) should disappear because of 
sin. The controversy among the Shaykhs on this matter has 
run to great length, and I do not intend to record it here. 

It is most important, however, that you should know with 
certainty in what state this miraculous grace is manifested 
to the saint : in sobriety or intoxication, in rapture (ghalabaf) 
or composure (tamkiii). I have fully explained the meaning 
of intoxication and sobriety in my account of the doctrine 
of Abu Yazid. He and Dhu 1-Nun the Egyptian and 
Muhammad b. Khafif and Husayn b. Mansur (al-Hallaj) and 
Yahya b. Mu adh Razi and others hold that miracles are not 
vouchsafed to a saint except when he is in the state of 
intoxication, whereas the miracles of the prophets are wrought 
in the state of sobriety. Hence, according to their doctrine, 
this is a clear distinction between mu jizdt and kardmaf, for 
the saint, being enraptured, pays no heed to the people and 
does not call upon them to follow him, while the prophet, 
being sober, exerts himself to attain his object and challenges 
the people to rival what he has done. Moreover, the prophet 
may choose whether he will manifest or conceal his extra 
ordinary powers, but the saints have no such choice ; some 
times a miracle is not granted to them when they desire it, 
and sometimes it is bestowed when they do not desire it, 
for the saint has no propaganda, so that his attributes should 
be subsistent, but he is hidden and his proper state is to 
have his attributes annihilated. The prophet is a man of law 
(sahib shar \ and the saint is a man of inward feeling (sahib 
sirr). Accordingly, a miracle (kardmaf) will not be manifested 
to a saint unless he is in a state of absence from himself and 
bewilderment, and unless his faculties are entirely under the 
control of God. While saints are with themselves and maintain 
the state of humanity (bashariyyaf), they are veiled ; but when 
the veil is lifted they are bewildered and amazed through 
realizing the bounties of God. A miracle cannot be manifested 
except in the state of unveiledness (kashf\ which is the rank 
of proximity (qurfr) ; and whoever is in that state, to him 


worthless stones appear even as gold. This is the state of 
intoxication with which no human being, the prophets alone 
excepted, is permanently endowed. Thus, one day, Haritha 
was transported from this world and had the next world 
revealed to him ; he said : " I have cut myself loose from this 
world, so that its stones and its gold and its silver and its 
clay are all one to me." Next day he was seen tending asses, 
and on being asked what he was doing, he said : " I am trying 
to get the food that I need." Therefore, the saints, while they 
are sober, are as ordinary men, but while they are intoxicated 
their rank is the same as that of the prophets, and the whole 
universe becomes like gold unto them. Shibli says 

" Gold wherever we go, and pearls 
Wherever we turn, and silver in the waste" 

I have heard the Master and Imam Abu 1-Qasim Qushayri 
say: "Once I asked Tabarani about the beginning of his 
spiritual experience. He told me that on one occasion he 
wanted a stone from the river-bed at Sarakhs. Every stone 
that he touched turned into a gem, and he threw them all 
away." This was because stones and gems were the same to 
him, or rather, gems were of less value, since he had no desire 
for them. And I have heard Khwaja Imam Khaza ini at 
Sarakhs relate as follows : " In my boyhood I went to a certain 
place to get mulberry leaves for silkworms. When it was 
midday I climbed a tree and began to shake the branches. 
While I was thus employed Shaykh Abu 1-Fadl b. al-Hasan 
passed by, but he did not see me, and I had no doubt that 
he was beside himself and that his heart was with God. 
Suddenly he raised his head and cried with the boldness of 
intimacy : O Lord, it is more than a year since Thou hast 
given me a small piece of silver (ddngi] that I might have 
my hair cut. Is this the way to treat Thy friends ? No 
sooner had he spoken than I saw all the leaves and boughs 
and roots of the trees turned to gold. Abu 1-Fadl exclaimed : 
How strange ! The least hint that I utter is a backsliding 


(liama ta rid-i md i rdd asf}. One cannot say a word to Thee 
for the sake of relieving one s mind." It is related that 
Shibli cast four hundred dinars into the Tigris. When asked 
what he was doing, he replied : " Stones are better in the 
water." " But why," they said, " don t you give the money 
to the poor ? " He answered : " Glory to God ! what plea 
can I urge before Him if I remove the veil from my own 
heart only to place it on the hearts of my brother Moslems ? 
It is not religious to wish them worse than myself." All 
these cases belong to the state of intoxication, which I have 
already explained. 

On the other hand, Junayd and Abu l- Abbas Sayyari and 
Abu Bakr Wasiti and Muhammad b. All of Tirmidh, the 
author of the doctrine, hold that miracles are manifested in 
the state of sobriety and composure (sahw ti tamkin), not in 
the state of intoxication. They argue that the saints of God 
are the governors of His kingdom and the overseers of the 
universe, which God has committed absolutely to their charge : 
therefore their judgments must be the soundest of all, and 
their hearts must be the most tenderly disposed of all towards 
the creatures of God. They are mature (rasidagdti) ; and 
whereas agitation and intoxication are marks of inexperience, 
with maturity agitation is transmuted into composure. Then, 
and only then, is one a saint in reality, and only then are 
miracles genuine. It is well known among Sufis that every 
night the A^vtdd must go round the whole universe, and if 
there should be any place on which their eyes have not fallen, 
next day some imperfection will appear in that place ; and 
they must then inform the Qutb, in order that he may fix 
his attention on the weak spot, and that by his blessing the 
imperfection may be removed. As regards the assertion that 
gold and earth are one to the saint, this indifference is a sign 
of intoxication and failure to see truly. More excellent is the 
man of true sight and sound perception, to whom gold is gold 
and earth is earth, but who recognizes the evil of the former 
and says : " O yellow ore ! O white ore ! beguile some one 


else, for I am aware of your corruptedness." He who sees 
the corruptedness of gold and silver perceives them to be 
a veil (between himself and God), and God will reward him 
for having renounced them. Contrariwise, he to whom gold 
is even as earth is not made perfect by renouncing earth. 
Haritha, being intoxicated, declared that stones and gold were 
alike to him, but Abu Bakr, being sober, perceived the evil of 
laying hands on worldly wealth, and knew that God would 
reward him for rejecting it. Therefore he renounced it, and 
when the Apostle asked him what he had left for his family he 
answered, " God and His Apostle." And the following story is 
related by Abu Bakr Warraq of Tirmidh: "One day Muhammad 
b. All (al- Hakim) said that he would take me somewhere. 
I replied : It is for the Shaykh to command. Soon after we 
set out I saw an exceedingly dreadful wilderness, and in the 
midst thereof a golden throne placed under a green tree beside 
a fountain of running water. Seated on the throne was a person 
clad in beautiful raiment, who rose when Muhammad b. C AK 
approached, and bade him sit on the throne. After a while, 
people came from every side until forty were gathered together. 
Then Muhammad b. All waved his hand, and immediately food 
appeared from heaven, and we ate. Afterwards Muhammad 
b. All asked a question of a man who was present, and he 
in reply made a long discourse of which I did not understand 
a single word. At last the Shaykh begged leave and took his 
departure, saying to me: ( Go, for thou art blest. On our 
return to Tirmidh, I asked him what was that place and who 
was that man. He told me that the place was the Desert of 
the Israelites (tih-i Bant Isrd il) and that the man was the 
Qutb on whom the order of the universe depends. O Shaykh, 
I said, how did we reach the Desert of the Israelites from 
Tirmidh in such a brief time ? He answered : O Abu 
Bakr, it is thy business to arrive (rastdari), not to ask 
questions (pursldan)!" This is a mark, not of intoxication, 
but of sanity. 

Now I will mention some miracles and stories of the Sufis, 


and link thereto certain evidence which is to be found in the 
Book (the Koran). 

Discourse concerning their Miracles. 

The reality of miracles having been established by logical 
argument, you must now become acquainted with the evidence 
of the Koran and .the genuine Traditions of the Apostle. Both 
Koran and Tradition proclaim the reality of miracles and 
extraordinary acts wrought by saints. To deny this is to deny 
the authority of the sacred texts. One example is the text, 
"And We caused the clouds to overshadow you and the manna 
and the quails to descend upon you" (Kor. ii, 54). If any sceptic 
should assert that this was an evidentiary miracle (mu jizai) 
of Moses, I raise no objection, because all the miracles of the 
saints are an evidentiary miracle of Muhammad ; and if he 
says that this miracle was wrought in the absence of Moses, 
although it occurred in his time, and that therefore it was not 
necessarily wrought by him, I reply that the same principle 
holds good in the case of Moses, when he quitted his people 
and went to Mount Sinai, as in the case of Muhammad ; for 
there is no difference between being absent in time and being 
absent in space. We are also told of the miracle of Asaf b. 
Barkhiya, who brought the throne of Bilqis to Solomon in the 
twinkling of an eye (Kor. xxvii, 40). This cannot have been 
a mu^jizat) for Asaf was not an apostle ; had it been a mu jizat, 
it must have been wrought by Solomon : therefore it was 
a kardmat. We are told also of Mary that whenever Zacharias 
went into her chamber he found winter fruits in summer and 
summer fruits in winter, so that he said : " Whence hadst thou 
this ? She answered, It is from God^ " (Kor. iii, 32). Everyone 
admits that Mary was not an apostle. Furthermore, we have 
the story of the men of the cave (ashdb al-kahf\ how their dog 
spoke to them, and how they slept and turned about in the 
cave (Kor. xviii, 17). All these were extraordinary acts, and 
since they certainly were not a mu jizat, they must have been 
a kardmat. Such miracles (kardmat) may be, for example, the 


answering of prayers through the accomplishment of wishes 
conceived by one who is subject to the religious law (ba-husul-i 
umtir-i mawhum andar zaindn-i taklif\ or the traversing of 
great distances in a short time, or the appearance of food from 
an unaccustomed place, or power to read the thoughts of 
others, etc. 

Among the genuine Traditions is the story of the cave 
(Jiaditk al-ghdr), which is told as follows. One clay the 
Companions of the Apostle begged him to relate to them some 
marvellous tale of the ancient peoples. He said : " Once three 
persons were going to a certain place. At eventide they took 
shelter in a cave, and while they were asleep a rock fell from 
the mountain and blocked the mouth of the cave. They said 
to one another, We shall never escape from here unless we 
make our disinterested actions plead for us before God. So 
one of them began : I had a father and mother and I had no 
worldly goods except a goat, whose milk I used to give to 
them ; and every day I used to gather a bundle of firewood 
and sell it and spend the money in providing food for them 
and myself. One night I came home rather late, and before 
I milked the goat and steeped their food in the milk they had 
fallen asleep. I kept the bowl in my hand and stood there, 
without having eaten anything, until morning, when they awoke 
and ate ; then I sat down. O Lord (he continued), if I speak 
the truth concerning this matter, send us deliverance and come 
to our aid ! " The Apostle said : " Thereupon the rock moved 
a little and a crevice appeared. The next man said : ( There 
was a beautiful blind girl, with whom I was deeply in love, 
but she would not listen to my suit. I managed to send to 
her a hundred and twenty dinars with a promise that she 
should keep the money if she would be mine for one night. 
When she came the fear of God seized my heart. I turned 
from her and let her keep the money. He added, O God, 
if I speak the truth, deliver us !" The Apostle said : "Then 
the rock moved a little further and the crevice widened, but 
they could not yet go forth. The third man said : I had some 


labourers working for me. When the work was done they all 
received their wages except one, who disappeared. With his 
wages I bought a sheep. Next year there were two, and in the 
year after that there were four, and they soon became a large 
flock. After several years the labourer returned and asked 
me for his wages. I said to him, " Go and take all these 
sheep ; they are your property." He thought I must be 
mocking him, but I assured him that it was true, and he went 
off with the whole flock. The narrator added, O Lord, if 
I speak the truth, deliver us! " "He had scarcely finished," 
said the Apostle, " when the rock moved away from the mouth 
of the cave and let the three men come forth." 1 It is related 
that Abu Sa i d Kharraz said : " For a long time I used to 
eat only once in three days. I was journeying in the desert, 
and on the third day I felt weak through hunger. A voice 
from heaven cried to me, Dost thou prefer food that will 
quiet thy lower nature, or an expedient that will enable thee 
to overcome thy weakness without food ? I replied, O God, 
give me strength ! Then I rose and travelled twelve stages 

1 Here follow (i) a Tradition, related by Abu Hurayra, of three infants who were 
miraculously endowed with speech : (a) Jesus, (b] a child who exculpated the monk 
Jurayj (George) when he was falsely accused by a harlot, (c) a child who divined the 
characters of a horseman and a woman. (2) A story of Za ida, the handmaid of the 
Caliph Umar : how a knight descended from heaven and gave her a message from 
Ridwan, the keeper of Paradise, to the Prophet ; and how, when she could not lift 
a bundle of firewood from a rock on which she had laid it, the Prophet bade the rock 
go with her and carry the firewood to Umar s house. (3) A story of Ala b. al- 
Hadrami, who, having been sent on a warlike expedition by the Prophet, walked 
dry-shod across a river with his company. (4) A story of Abdallah b. Umar, at 
whose bidding a lion decamped and left the way open for a party of travellers. 
(5) A story of a man who was seen sitting in the air, and when Abraham asked him 
by what means he had obtained such power, replied that he had renounced the world 
and that God had bestowed on him an aerial dwelling-place where he was not 
disturbed by any thought of mankind. (6) A story of the Caliph Umar, who was 
on the point of being killed by a Persian, when two lions suddenly appeared and 
caused the assassin to desist. (7) A story of Khalid b. Walid, who said " Bismillah " 
and drank a deadly poison, which did him no harm. (8) A story, related by Hasan 
of Basra, of a negro who turned the walls of a tavern into gold. (9) A story, related 
by Ibrahim b. Adham, of a shepherd who smote a rock with his staff and caused water 
to gush forth. (10) A story of a cup which pronounced the words " Glory to God " 
in the hearing of Abu Darda and Salman Farisi. 


without meat or drink." It is well known that at the present 
day the house of Sahl b. Abdallah at Tustar is called the 
House of the Wild Beasts (bayt al-sibd^, and the people of 
Tustar are agreed that many wild beasts used to come to him, 
and that he fed and tended them. Abu 1-Qasim of Merv tells 
the following story : " As I was walking on the seashore with 
Abu Sa id Kharraz, I saw a youth clad in a patched frock and 
carrying a bucket (rakwa), to which an ink-bottle was fastened. 
Kharraz said : When I look at this youth he seems to be one 
of the adepts (rasidagdri], but when I look at his ink-bottle 
I think he is a student. Let me question him. So he accosted 
the youth and said, What is the way to God ? The youth 
answered : There are two ways to God : the way of the vulgar 
and the way of the elect. Thou hast no knowledge of the latter, 
but the way of the vulgar, which thou pursuest, is to regard 
thine own actions as the cause of attaining to God, and to 
suppose that an ink-bottle is one of the things that interfere 
with attainment. " Dhu 1-Nun the Egyptian says : " Once 
I embarked in a ship voyaging from Egypt to Jidda. Among 
the passengers was a youth wearing a patched frock. I was 
eager to be his companion, but he inspired me with such awe 
that I did not venture to address him, for his spiritual state 
was very exalted and he was constantly engaged in devotion. 
One day a certain man lost a purse of jewels, and suspicion 
fell on this youth. They were about to maltreat him, but 
I said, Let me question him courteously. I told him that 
he was suspected of theft and that I had saved him from 
maltreatment. * And now, I said, what is to be done ? He 
looked towards Heaven and spoke a few words. The fishes 
came to the surface of the sea, each with a jewel in its mouth. 
He took a jewel and gave it to his accuser ; then he set his 
foot on the water and walked away. Thereupon the real thief 
dropped the purse, and the people in the ship repented." 
Ibrahim Raqqf 1 is related to have said : " In my novitiate 
I set out to visit Muslim Maghribi. I found him in his mosque, 

1 Died in 326 A.H. See Abu 1-Mahasin, Nujtim, ii, 284, 13. 


acting as precentor. He pronounced al-hamd incorrectly. I said 
to myself, My trouble has been wasted. Next day, when I was 
going to the bank of the Euphrates to perform the religious 
ablution, I saw a lion asleep on the road. I turned back, and 
was faced by another lion which had been following me. 
Hearing my cry of despair, Muslim came forth from his cell. 
When the lions saw him they humbled themselves before him. 
He took the ear of each one and rubbed it, saying, * O dogs 
of God, have not I told you that you must not interfere 
with my guests ? Then he said to me: O Abu Ishaq, thou 
hast busied thyself with correcting thy exterior for the sake 
of God s creatures, hence thou art afraid of them ; but it has 
been my business to correct my interior for God s sake, hence 
His creatures are afraid of me. " One day my Shaykh set out 
from Bayt al-Jinn to Damascus. Heavy rain had begun to 
fall, and I was walking with difficulty in the mire. I noticed 
that the Shaykh s shoes and clothes were perfectly dry. On 
my pointing this out to him, he said : " Yes ; God has preserved 
me from mud ever since I put unquestioning trust in Him and 
guarded my interior from the desolation of cupidity." Once an 
experience occurred to me which I could not unravel. I set 
out to visit Shaykh Abu 1-Qasim Gurgam at Tus. I found 
him alone in his chamber in the mosque, and he was expounding 
precisely the same difficulty to a pillar, so that I was answered 
without having asked the question. "O Shaykh," I cried, " to 
whom art thou saying this ? " He replied : " O son, God just 
now caused this pillar to speak and ask me this question." In 
Farghana, at a village called Ashlatak, 1 there was an old man, 

one of the Awtdd of the earth. His name was Bab Umar 2 

all the dervishes in that country give the title of Bab to their 
great Shaykhs and he had an old wife called Fatima. I went 
from Uzkand to see him. When I entered his presence he said : 
"Why have you come?" I replied: "In order that I might 
see the Shaykh in person and that he might look on me 
with kindness." He said : " I have been seeing you continually 
1 L. uJjiU IJ. uU. a See Nafahdt, No. 351. 


since such and such a day, and I wish to see you as long as 
you are not removed from my sight." I computed the day 
and year : it was the very day on which my conversion began. 
The Shaykh said : " To traverse distance (sipardan-i masdfaf) 
is child s play : henceforth pay visits by means of thought 
(himmaf) ; it is not worth while to visit any person (shakhs), 
and there is no virtue in bodily presence (Jtudiir-i asJibdli)" 
Then he bade Fatima bring something to eat. She brought 
a dish of new grapes, although it was not the season for them, 
and some fresh ripe dates, which cannot possibly be procured 
in Farghana. On another occasion, while I was sitting alone, 
as is my custom, beside the tomb of Shaykh Abu Sa id at 
Mihna, I saw a white pigeon fly under the cloth (futa) covering 
the sepulchre. I supposed that the bird had escaped from its 
owner, but when I looked under the cloth nothing was to be 
seen. This happened again next day, and also on the third 
day. I was at a loss to understand it, until one night I dreamed 
of the saint and asked him about my experience. He answered : 
"That pigeon is my good conduct (safd-yi mu dmalai), which 
comes every day to my tomb to feast with me (ba-munddainat-i 
man} 1 I might adduce many more of these tales without 
exhausting them, but my purpose in this book is to establish 
the principles of Sufiism. As regards derivatives and matters 
of conduct books have been compiled by the traditionists 
(naqqdldn\ and these topics are disseminated from the pulpit 
by preachers (jnudhakkirdri}. Now I will give, in one or two 
sections, an adequate account of certain points bearing on the 
present discussion, in order that I may not have to return to 
it again. 

Discourse on the Superiority of the Prophets to the Saints. 

You must know that, by universal consent of the Sufi 
Shaykhs, the saints are at all times and in all circumstances 
subordinate to the prophets, whose missions they confirm. 

1 Here the author tells the story, which has already been related (p. 142 supra], 
of Abu Bakr Warraq, who was commanded by Muhammad b. AH of Tirmidh to 
throw some of the latter s mystical writings into the Oxus. 


The prophets are superior to the saints, because the end of 
saintship is only the beginning of prophecy. Every prophet 
is a saint, but some saints are not prophets. The prophets are 
constantly exempt from the attributes of humanity, while the 
saints are so only temporarily ; the fleeting state (Jidl) of 
the saint is the permanent station (maqdni) of the prophet ; 
and that which to the saints is a station (maqdiri) is to the 
prophets a veil (hijdti). This view is held unanimously by 
the Sunni divines and the Sufi mystics, but it is opposed by 
a sect of the Hashwiyya the Anthropomorphists (mujassima} 
of Khurasan who discourse in a self-contradictory manner 
concerning the principles of Unification (tawhid)> and who, 
although they do not know the fundamental doctrine of Sufiism, 
call themselves saints. Saints they are indeed, but saints of 
the Devil. They maintain that the saints are superior to the 
prophets, and it is a sufficient proof of their error that they 
declare an ignoramus to be more excellent than Muhammad, 
the Chosen of God. The same vicious opinion is held by 
another sect of Anthropomorphists (inushabbiha], who pretend 
to be Sufis, and admit the doctrines of the incarnation of God 
and His descent (into the human body) by transmigration 
(intiqdl), and the division (tajziya) of His essence. I will 
treat fully of these matters when I give my promised account 
of the two reprobated sects (of Sufis). The sects to which 
I am now referring claim to be Moslems, but they agree with 
the Brahmans in denying special privileges to the prophets ; 
and whoever believes in this doctrine becomes an infidel. 
Moreover, the prophets are propagandists and Imams, and the 
saints are their followers, and it is absurd to suppose that the 
follower of an Imam is superior to the Imam himself. In short, 
the lives, experiences, and spiritual powers of all the saints 
together appear as nothing compared with one act of a true 
prophet, because the saints are seekers and pilgrims, whereas 
the prophets have arrived and have found and have returned 
with the command to preach and to convert the people. If 
any one of the above-mentioned heretics should urge that an 


ambassador sent by a king is usually inferior to the person 
to whom he is sent, as e.g. Gabriel is inferior to the Apostles, 
and that this is against my argument, I reply that an 
ambassador sent to a single person should be inferior to 
him, but when an ambassador is sent to a large number 
of persons or to a people, he is superior to them, as the 
Apostles are superior to the nations. Therefore one moment 
of the prophets is better than the whole life of the saints, 
because when the saints reach their goal they tell of con 
templation (inushdhadaf) and obtain release from the veil of 
humanity (bashariyyaf), although they are essentially men. 
On the other hand, contemplation is the first step of the 
apostle ; and since the apostle s starting-place is the saint s 
goal, they cannot be judged by the same standard. Do not 
you perceive that, according to the unanimous opinion of all 
the saints who seek God, the station of union (jam 1 ) belongs 
to the perfection of saintship ? Now, in this station, a man 
attains such a degree of rapturous love that his intelligence 
is enraptured in gazing upon the act of God (yV), and in 
his longing for the Divine Agent (fd il) he regards the whole 
universe as that and sees nothing but that. Thus Abu All 
Rudbari says : " Were the vision of that which we serve to 
vanish from us, we should lose the name of servantship 
^ubtidiyyat)? for we derive the glory of worship (^ibddaf) 
solely from vision of Him. This is the beginning of the 
state of the prophets, inasmuch as separation (tafriqa) is 
inconceivable in relation to them. They are entirely in the 
essence of union, whether they affirm or deny, whether they 
approach or turn away, whether they are at the beginning 
or at the end. Abraham, in the beginning of his state, 
looked on the sun and said : " This is my Lord" and he 
looked on the moon and stars and said : " This is my Lord" 
(Kor. vi, 76-8), because his heart was overwhelmed by the 
Truth and he was united in the essence of union. Therefore 
he saw naught else, or if he saw aught else he did not see 
it with the eye of " otherness " (ghayr\ but with the eye of 


union (jam ), and in the reality of that vision he disavowed 
his own and said: "/ love not those that set" (Kor. vi, 76). 
As he began with union, so he ended with union. Saintship 
has a beginning and an end, but prophecy has not. The 
prophets were prophets from the first, and shall be to the 
last, and before they existed they were prophets in the know 
ledge and will of God. Abu Yazfd was asked about the state 
of the prophets. He replied : " Far be it from me to say ! 
We have no power to judge of them, and in our notions of 
them we are wholly ourselves. God has placed their denial 
and affirmation in such an exalted degree that human vision 
cannot reach unto it." Accordingly, as the rank of the saints 
is hidden from the perception of mankind, so the rank of the 
prophets is hidden from the judgment of the saints. Abu 
Yazi d was the proof (hujjat) of his age, and he says : " I saw 
that my spirit (sin-) was borne to the heavens. It looked at 
nothing and gave no heed, though Paradise and Hell were 
displayed to it, for it was freed from phenomena and veils. 
Then I became a bird, whose body was of Oneness and whose 
wings were of Everlastingness, and I continued to fly in the 
air of the Absolute (Jmwiyyat\ until I passed into the sphere 
of Purification (tanziJi], and gazed upon the field of Eternity 
(azaliyyaf) and beheld there the tree of Oneness. When 
I looked I myself was all those. I cried : O Lord, with my 
egoism (inani-yi man] I cannot attain to Thee, and I cannot 
escape from my selfhood. What am I to do? God spake: 
O Abu Yazi d, thou must win release from thy u thou-ness" 
by following My beloved i.e. (Muhammad). Smear thine eyes 
with the dust of his feet and follow him continually. " This 
is a long narrative. The Sufis call it the Ascension (mi rdf) 
of Bayazid ; x and the term " ascension " denotes proximity to 
God (qurU). The ascension of prophets takes place outwardly 
and in the body, whereas that of saints takes place inwardly 
and in the spirit. The body of an apostle resembles t l ~ heart 

1 A full account of Bayazid s ascension is given in the Tadhkirat al-Awliyd, 
i, 172 ff. 


and spirit of a saint in purity and nearness to God. This is 
a manifest superiority. When a saint is enraptured and 
intoxicated he is withdrawn from himself by means of a 
spiritual ladder and brought near to God ; and as soon as he 
returns to the state of sobriety all those evidences have taken 
shape in his mind and he has gained knowledge of them. 
Accordingly, there is a great difference between one who is 
carried thither in person and one who is carried thither only 
in thought (fikraf), for thought involves duality. 

Discourse on the Superiority of the Prophets and Saints to the 


The whole community of orthodox Moslems and all the Sufi 
Shaykhs agree that the prophets and such of the saints as are 
guarded from sin (inahfiiz) are superior to the angels. The 
opposite view is held by the Mu tazilites, who declare that the 
angels are superior to the prophets, being of more exalted rank, 
of more subtle constitution, and more obedient to God. I reply 
that this is not as you imagine, for an obedient body, an exalted 
rank, and a subtle constitution cannot be causes of superiority, 
which belongs only to those on whom God has bestowed 
it. Iblis had all the qualities that you mention, yet he is 
universally acknowledged to have become accursed. The 
superiority of the prophets is indicated by the fact that God 
commanded the angels to worship Adam ; for the state of one 
who is worshipped is higher than the state of the worshipper. 
If they argue that, just as a true believer is superior to the Ka ba, 
an inanimate mass of stone, although he bows down before it, so 
the angels may be superior to Adam, although they bowed down 
before him, I reply : " No one says that a believer bows down 
to a house or an altar or a wall, but all say that he bows 
down to God, and it is admitted by all that the angels bowed 
down to Adam (Kor. ii, 32). How, then, can the Ka ba be 
compared to Adam ? A traveller may worship God on the back 
of the animal which he is riding, and he is excused if his face 
be not turned towards the Ka ba ; and, in like manner, one who 


has lost his bearings in a desert, so that he cannot tell the 
direction of the Ka ba, will have done his duty in whatever 
direction he may turn to pray. The angels offered no excuse 
when they bowed down to Adam, and the one who made an 
excuse for himself became accursed." These are clear proofs to 
any person of insight. 

Again, the angels are equal to the prophets in knowledge of 
God, but not in rank. The angels are without lust, covetousness, 
and evil ; their nature is devoid of hypocrisy and guile, and 
they are instinctively obedient to God ; whereas lust is an 
impediment in human nature ; and men have a propensity 
to commit sins and to be impressed by the vanities of this 
world ; and Satan has so much power over their bodies that he 
circulates with the blood in their veins ; and closely attached 
to them is the lower soul (nafs), which incites them to all 
manner of wickedness. Therefore, one whose nature has all 
these characteristics and who, in spite of the violence of his lust, 
refrains from immorality, and notwithstanding his covetousness 
renounces this world, and, though his heart is still tempted by 
the Devil, turns back from sin and averts his face from sensual 
depravity in order to occupy himself with devotion and persevere 
in piety and mortify his lower soul and contend against the 
Devil, such a one is in reality superior to the angel who is not 
the battle-field of lust, and is naturally without desire of food 
and pleasures, and has no care for wife and child and kinsfolk, 
and need not have recourse to means and instruments, and is 
not absorbed in corrupt ambitions. A Gabriel, who worships 
God so many thousands of years in the hope of gaining a robe 
of honour, and the honour bestowed on him was that of acting as 
Muhammad s groom on the night of the Ascension how should 
he be superior to one who disciplines and mortifies his lower 
soul by day and night in this world, until God looks on him with 
favour and grants to him the grace of seeing Himself and 
delivers him from all distracting thoughts ? When the pride of 
the angels passed all bounds, and every one of them vaunted the 
purity of his conduct and spoke with an unbridled tongue 


in blame of mankind, God resolved that He would show to 
them their real state. He therefore bade them choose three 
of the chief among them, in whom they had confidence, to go to 
the earth and be its governors and reform its people. So three 
angels were chosen, but before they came to the earth one of 
them perceived its corruption and begged God to let him return. 
When the other two arrived on the earth God changed their 
nature so that they felt a desire for food and drink and were 
inclined to lust, and God punished them on that account, and 
the angels were forced to recognize the superiority of mankind 
to themselves. 1 In short, the elect among the true believers are 
superior to the elect among the angels, and the ordinary 
believers are superior to the ordinary angels. Accordingly 
those men who are preserved (ma siim] and protected (inakfiiz) 
from sin are more excellent than Gabriel and Michael, and 
those who are not thus preserved are better than the Recording 
Angels (Jiafaza} and the noble Scribes (kirdm-i kdtibiri). 

Something has been said on this subject by every one of the 
Shaykhs. God awards superiority to whom He pleases, over 
whom He pleases. You must know that saintship is a Divine 
mystery which is revealed only through conduct (rawisJi). 
A saint is known only to a saint. If this matter could be made 
plain to all reasonable men it would be impossible to distinguish 
the friend from the foe or the spiritual adept from the careless 
worldling. Therefore God so willed that the pearl of His love 
should be set in the shell of popular contempt and be cast into 
the sea of affliction, in order that those who seek it may hazard 
their lives on account of its preciousness and dive to the bottom 
of this ocean of death, where they will either win their desire or 
bring their mortal state to an end. 


They are the followers of Abu Sa id Kharraz, who wrote 
brilliant works on Sufiism and attained a high degree in 

1 See Kor. ii, 96 ff. 


detachment from the world. He was the first to explain the 
state of annihilation and subsistence (fand u baqd), and he 
comprehended his whole doctrine in these two terms. Now 
I will declare their meaning and show the errors into which 
some have fallen in this respect, in order that you may know 
what his doctrine is and what the Sufis intend when they 
employ these current expressions. 

Discourse on Subsistence (baqa) and Annihilation (fana). 

You must know that annihilation and subsistence have one 
meaning in science and another meaning in mysticism, and that 
formalists (zdhifiydn) are more puzzled by these words than by 
any other technical terms of the Sufi s. Subsistence in its 
scientific and etymological acceptation is of three kinds : 
(i) a subsistence that begins and ends in annihilation, e.g. this 
world, which had a beginning and will have an end, and is now 
subsistent ; (2) a subsistence that came into being and will 
never be annihilated, viz. Paradise and Hell and the next world 
and its inhabitants ; (3) a subsistence that always was and 
always will be, viz. the subsistence of God and His eternal 
attributes. Accordingly, knowledge of annihilation lies in 
your knowing that this world is perishable, and knowledge 
of subsistence lies in your knowledge that the next world is 

But the subsistence and annihilation of a state (hdl} denotes, 
for example, that when ignorance is annihilated knowledge is 
necessarily subsistent, and that when sin is annihilated piety 
is subsistent, and that when a man acquires knowledge of his 
piety his forgetfulness (ghaflat) is annihilated by remembrance 
of God (dhikr}, i.e., when anyone gains knowledge of God and 
becomes subsistent in knowledge of Him he is annihilated from 
(entirely loses) ignorance of Him, and when he is annihilated 
from forgetfulness he becomes subsistent in remembrance of 
Him, and this involves the discarding of blameworthy attributes 
and the substitution of praiseworthy attributes. A different 
signification, however, is attached to the terms in question by 


the elect among the Sufis. They do not refer these expressions 
to " knowledge " ( ///;/) or to " state " (//#/), but apply them solely 
to the degree of perfection attained by the saints who have 
become free from the pains of mortification and have escaped 
from the prison of" stations " and the vicissitude of " states ", and 
whose search has ended in discovery, so that they have seen all 
things visible, and have heard all things audible, and have 
discovered all the secrets of the heart ; and who, recognizing 
the imperfection of their own discover) 7 , have turned away from 
all things and have purposely become annihilated in the object 
of desire, and in the very essence of desire have lost all desires 
of their own, for when a man becomes annihilated from his 
attributes he attains to perfect subsistence, he is neither near 
nor far, neither stranger nor intimate, neither sober nor 
intoxicated, neither separated nor united ; he has no name, 
or sign, or brand, or mark. 

In short, real annihilation from anything involves consciousness 
of its imperfection and absence of desire for it, not merely that 
a man should say, when he likes a thing, " I am subsistent 
therein," or when he dislikes it, that he should say, " I am 
annihilated therefrom " ; for these qualities are characteristic of 
one who is still seeking. In annihilation there is no love or 
hate, and in subsistence there is no consciousness of union or 
separation. Some wrongly imagine that annihilation signifies 
loss of essence and destruction of personality, and that subsistence 
indicates the subsistence of God in Man ; both these notions 
are absurd. In India I had a dispute on this subject with 
a man who claimed to be versed in Koranic exegesis and 
theology. When I examined his pretensions I found that he 
knew nothing of annihilation and subsistence, and that he 
could not distinguish the eternal from the phenomenal. Many 
ignorant Sufis consider that total annihilation (fand-yi kulliyyaf} 
is possible, but this is a manifest error, for annihilation of the 
different parts of a material substance {tlnati) can never take 
place. I ask these ignorant and mistaken men : " What do 
you mean by this kind of annihilation ? " If they answer, 


" Annihilation of substance " (fand-yi l ayn\ that is impossible ; 
and if they answer, " Annihilation of attributes," that is only 
possible in so far as one attribute may be annihilated through 
the subsistence of another attribute, both attributes belonging 
to Man ; but it is absurd to suppose that anyone can subsist 
through the attributes of another individual. The Nestorians 
of Rum and the Christians hold that Mary annihilated by self- 
mortification all the attributes of humanity (awsdf-i ndsiiti) and 
that the Divine subsistence became attached to her, so that she 
was made subsistent through the subsistence of God, and that 
Jesus was the result thereof, and that he was not originally 
composed of the stuff of humanity, because his subsistence is 
produced by realization of the subsistence of God ; and that, 
in consequence of this, he and his mother and God are all 
subsistent through one subsistence, which is eternal and an 
attribute of God. All this agrees with the doctrine of the 
anthropomorphistic sects of the Hashwiyya, who maintain that 
the Divine essence is a locus of phenomena (mahall-i hawddith) 
and that the Eternal may have phenomenal attributes. I ask 
all who proclaim such tenets: "What difference is there between 
the view that the Eternal is the locus of the phenomenal and the 
view that the phenomenal is the locus of the Eternal, or between 
the assertion that the Eternal has phenomenal attributes and 
the assertion that the phenomenal has eternal attributes ? " 
Such doctrines involve materialism (dahr) and destroy the 
proof of the phenomenal nature of the universe, and compel 
us to say that both the Creator and His creation are eternal 
or that both are phenomenal, or that what is created may 
be commingled with what is uncreated, and that what is 
uncreated may descend into what is created. If, as they cannot 
help admitting, the creation is phenomenal, then their Creator 
also must be phenomenal, because the locus of a thing is like 
its substance ; if the locus (makalf) is phenomenal, it follows 
that the contents of the locus (hall) are phenomenal too. In 
fine, when one thing is linked and united and commingled with 
another, both things are in principle as one. 


Accordingly, our subsistence and annihilation are attributes 
of ourselves, and resemble each other in respect of their being 
our attributes. Annihilation is the annihilation of one attribute 
through the subsistence of another attribute. One may speak, 
however, of an annihilation that is independent of subsistence, 
.and also of a subsistence that is independent of annihilation : 
in that case annihilation means "annihilation of all remem 
brance of other ", and subsistence means " subsistence of the 
remembrance of God " (baqd-yi dhikr-i Jiaqq). Whoever is 
annihilated from his own will subsists in the will of God, 
because thy will is perishable and the will of God is ever 
lasting : when thou standest by thine own will thou standest 
by annihilation, but when thou art absolutely controlled by the 
will of God thou standest by subsistence. Similarly, the power 
of fire transmutes to its own quality anything that falls into it, 
and surely the power of God s will is greater than that of fire ; 
but fire affects only the quality of iron without changing its 
substance, for iron can never become fire. 


All the Shaykhs have given subtle indications on this 
subject. Abu Sa i d Kharrdz, the author of the doctrine, says : 
" Annihilation is annihilation of consciousness of manhood 
(^ubildiyyat\ and subsistence is subsistence in the contemplation 
of Godhead (tldkiyyaf)" i.e., it is an imperfection to be conscious 
in one s actions that one is a man, and one attains to real 
manhood (bandagi] when one is not conscious of them, but is 
annihilated so as not to see them, and becomes subsistent 
through beholding the action of God. Hence all one s actions 
are referred to God, not to one s self, and whereas a man s 
actions that are connected with himself are imperfect, those 
which are attached to him by God are perfect. Therefore, 
when anyone becomes annihilated from things that depend on 
himself, he becomes subsistent through the beauty of Godhead. 
Abu Ya qub Nahrajuri says : " A man s true servantship 
( ublidiyyaf} lies in annihilation and subsistence," because no 


one is capable of serving God with sincerity until he renounces 

all self-interest : therefore to renounce humanity (adamiyyaf) 

is annihilation, and to be sincere in servantship is subsistence. 

And Ibrahim b. Shayban says: "The science of annihilation 

and subsistence turns on sincerity (ikhlds) and unity (wdhid- 

iyyaf) and true servantship ; all else is- error and heresy," 

i.e., when anyone acknowledges the unity of God he feels 

himself overpowered by the omnipotence of God, and one who 

is overpowered (maghhlb) is annihilated in the might of his 

vanquisher; and when his annihilation is rightly fulfilled on 

him, he confesses his weakness and sees no resource except 

to serve God, and tries to gain His satisfaction (ridd\ And 

whoever explains these terms otherwise, i.e. annihilation as 

meaning " annihilation of substance " and subsistence as 

meaning "subsistence of God (in Man)", is a heretic and 

a Christian, as has been stated above. 

Now I, <Alf b. Uthman al-Jullabi, declare that all these 
sayings are near to each other in meaning, although they differ 
in expression; and their real gist is this, that annihilation 
comes to a man through vision of the majesty of God and 
through the revelation of Divine omnipotence to his heart, so 
that in the overwhelming sense of His majesty this world and 
the next world are obliterated from his mind, and "states" 
and "stations" appear contemptible in the sight of his aspiring 
thought, and what is shown to him of miraculous grace vanishes 
into nothing: he becomes dead to reason and passion alike, 
dead even to annihilation itself; and in that annihilation of 
annihilation his tongue proclaims God, and his mind and 
body are humble and abased, as in the beginning when 
Adam s posterity were drawn forth from his loins without 
admixture of evil and took the pledge of servantship to God 
(Kor. vii, 171). 

Such are the principles of annihilation and subsistence. 
[ have discussed a portion of the subject in the chapter on 
Poverty and Sufiism, and wherever these terms occur in the 
present work they bear the meaning which I have explained. 



They are the followers of Abu Abdallah Muhammad b. 
Khafi f of Shiraz, an eminent mystic in his time and the author 
of celebrated treatises on various branches of Sufiism. He was 
a man of great spiritual influence, and was not led by his lusts. 
I have heard that he contracted four hundred marriages. This 
was due to the fact that he was of royal descent, and that 
after his conversion the people of Shiraz paid great court to 
him, and the daughters of kings and nobles desired to marry 
him for the sake of the blessing which would accrue to them. 
He used to comply with their wishes, and then divorce them 
before consummation of the marriage. But in the course of his 
life forty wives, who were strangers to him (begdna), two or 
three at a time, used to serve him as bed-makers (khddimdn-i 
firds/i), and one of them she was the daughter of a vizier 
lived with him for forty years. I have heard from Abu 1-Hasan 
All b. Bakran of Shiraz that one day several of his wives were 
gathered together, and each one was telling some story about 
him. They all agreed sese nunquam eum vidisse libidini 
obsequentem. Hitherto each of them had believed that she was 
peculiarly treated in this respect, and when they learned that 
the Shaykh s behaviour was the same towards them all, they 
were astonished and doubted whether such was truly the case. 
Accordingly, they sent two of their number to question the 
vizier s daughter, who was his favourite, as to his dealings with 
her. She replied : " When the Shaykh wedded me and I was 
informed that he would visit me that night, I prepared a fine 
repast and adorned myself assiduously. As soon as he came 
and the food was brought in, he called me to him and looked 
for a while first at me and then at the food. Then he took my 
hand and drew it into his sleeve. From his breast to his navel 
there were fifteen knots (^aqd) growing out of his belly. He 
said, Ask me what these are ; so I asked him and he replied, 
They are knots made by the tribulation and anguish of my 
abstinence in renouncing a face like this and viands like these. 


He said no more, but departed ; and that is all my intimacy 
with him." 

The form of his doctrine in Sufiism is " absence " (g hay bat) 
and "presence" (Jmdi ir). I will explain it as far as possible. 

Discourse on Absence (ghaybat) and Presence (hudur). 

These terms, although apparently opposed to each other, 
express the same meaning from different points of view. 
" Presence " is " presence of the heart ", as a proof of intuitive 
faith (yaqin), so that what is hidden from it has the same force 
as what is visible to it. " Absence " is " absence of the heart 
from all things except God " to such an extent that it becomes 
absent from itself and absent even from its absence, so that it no 
longer regards itself; and the sign of this state is withdrawal 
from all formal authority (Jiukm-i rusuni), as when a prophet is 
divinely preserved from what is unlawful. Accordingly, absence 
from one s self is presence with God, and vice versa. God is 
the lord of the human heart : when a divine rapture {jadhbaf) 
overpowers the heart of the seeker, the absence of his heart 
becomes equivalent to its presence (with God) ; partnership 
(shirkaf) and division (qismaf) disappear, and relationship 
to "self" comes to an end, as one of the Shaykhs has said in 

" Thou art the Lord of my heart. 
Without any partner : how, then, can it be divided ? " 

Inasmuch as God is sole lord of the heart, He has absolute 
power to keep it absent or present as He will, and, in regard to 
the essence of the case, this is the whole argument for the 
doctrine of His favourites ; but when a distinction is made, the 
Shaykhs hold various opinions on the subject, some preferring 
"presence" to " absence", while others declare that "absence" is 
superior to " presence ". There is the same controversy as that 
concerning sobriety and intoxication, which I have explained 
above ; but these terms indicate that the human attributes 
are still subsistent, whereas " absence " and " presence " indicate 


that the human attributes are annihilated : therefore the latter 
terms are in reality more sublime. " Absence " is preferred to 
"presence" by Ibn ( Ata, Husayn b. Mansur (al-Hallaj), Abu 
Bakr Shibli, Bundar b. al-Husayn, Abu Hamza of Baghdad, 
Sumnun Muhibb, and a number of the Shaykhs of Iraq. 
They say : " Thou thyself art the greatest of all veils between 
thee and God : when thou hast become absent from thyself, the 
evils implicit in thy being are annihilated in thee, and thy state 
undergoes a fundamental change : the stations of novices 
become a veil to thee, and the states of those who seek God 
become a source of mischief to thee ; thine eye is closed to 
thyself and to all that is other than God, and thy human 
attributes are consumed by the flame of proximity to God 
(qurbafy This is the same state of absence in which God 
drew thee forth from the loins of Adam, and caused thee to hear 
His exalted word, and distinguished thee by the honorary robe 
of Unification and the garment of contemplation ; so long as 
thou wert absent from thyself, thou wert present with God 
face to face, but when thou becamest present with thine own 
attributes, thou becamest absent from thy proximity to God. 
Therefore thy * presence is thy perdition. This is the meaning 
of God s word, And now are ye come unto us alone, as We 
created you at first " (Kor, vi, 94). On the other hand, Harith 
Muhasibi, Junayd, Sahl b. Abdallah, Abu Ja far Haddad, 1 
Hamdun Qassar, Abu Muhammad Jurayri, Husri, Muhammad 
b. Khafif, who is the author of the doctrine, and others hold 
that " presence " is superior to " absence ". They argue that 
inasmuch as all excellences are bound up with " presence ", and 
as " absence " from one s self is a way leading to " presence " 
with God, the way becomes an imperfection after you have 
arrived at the goal. " Presence " is the fruit of " absence ", but 
what light is to be found in " absence " without " presence " ? 
A man must needs renounce heedlessness in order that, by 
means of this "absence", he may attain to "presence"; and 

1 Nafahdt, No. 201. 


when he has attained his object, the means by which he attained 
it has no longer any worth. 

"The Absent one is not he who is absent from his country, 
But he who is absent from all desire. 
The present one is not he who hath no desire, 
But he who hath no heart (no tJiougJit of worldly things), 
So that his desire is ever fixed on God 

It is a well - known story that one of the disciples of 
Dhu 1-Nun set out to visit Abu Yazi d. When he came to 
Abu Yazid s cell and knocked at the door Abu Yazid said : 
" Who art thou, and whom dost thou wish to see ? " He 
answered : " Abu Yazid." Abu Yazid said : " Who is Abu 
Yazid, and where is he, and what thing is he ? I have been 
seeking Abu Yazid for a long while, but I have not found him." 
When the disciple returned to Dhu 1-Nun and told him what 
had passed, Dhu 1-Nun said : " My brother Abu Yazid is lost 
with those who are lost in God." A certain man came to 
Junayd and said: "Be present with me for a moment that 
I may speak to thee." Junayd answered: " O young man, 
you demand of me something that I have long been seeking. 
For many years I have been wishing to become present with 
myself a moment, but I cannot ; how, then, can I become 
present with you just now?" Therefore, "absence" involves 
the sorrow of being veiled, while " presence " involves the joy 
of revelation, and the former state can never be equal to the 
latter. Shaykh Abu Sa id says on this subject 

Taqashsha a ghaymu l-hajri an qamari l-hubbi 
Wa-asfara nuru l-subhi an zulmati l-ghaybi. 

:< The clouds of separation have been cleared away from the 

moon of love, 

And the light of morning has shone forth from the darkness 
of the Unseen." 

The distinction made by the Shaykhs between these two 
terms is mystical, and on the surface merely verbal, for they 


seem to be approximately the same. To be present with God 
is to be absent from one s self what is the difference? and 
one who is not absent from himself is not present with God. 
Thus, forasmuch as the impatience of Job in his affliction did 
not proceed from himself, but on the contrary he was then 
absent from himself, God did not distinguish his impatience 
from patience, and when he cried, " Evil hath befallen me " 
(Kor. xxi, 83), God said, " Verily, he was patient This is 
evidently a judgment founded on the essential nature of the 
case (Jmkm ba- l ayri). It is related that Junayd said : " For 
a time I was such that the inhabitants of heaven and earth wept 
over my bewilderment (Jiayraf) ; then, again, I became such that 
I wept over their absence (ghaybaf) ; and now my state is such 
that I have no knowledge either of them or of myself." This 
is an excellent indication of " presence ". 

I have briefly explained the meaning of " presence " and 
" absence " in order that you may be acquainted with the 
doctrine of the Khafifis, and may also know in what sense 
these terms are used by the Sufis. 


They are the followers of Abu l- Abbas Sayyari, the Imam 
of Merv. He was learned in all the sciences and associated 
with Abu Bakr Wasiti. At the present day he has numerous 
followers in Nasa and Merv. His school of Sufiism is the only 
one that has kept its original doctrine unchanged, and the cause 
of this fact is that Nasa and Merv have never been without 
some person who acknowledged his authority and took care 
that his followers should maintain the doctrine of their founder. 
The Sayyaris of Nasa carried on a discussion with those of 
Merv by means of letters, and I have seen part of this 
correspondence at Merv ; it is very fine. Their expositions 
are based on "union" (jam 1 ) and "separation" (tafriqa). 
These words are common to all scientists and are employed 
by specialists in every branch of learning as a means of 
rendering their explanations intelligible, but they bear different 


meanings in each case. Thus, in arithmetic jam*- denotes the 
addition and tafriqa the subtraction of numbers ; in grammar 
jam is the agreement of words in derivation, while tafriqa is the 
difference in meaning ; irrlaw/<z;# c is analogy (qiyds) and tafriqa 
the characteristics of an authoritative text (sifdt-i miss), or 
jam* is the text and tafriqa the analogy ; in divinity jam 
denotes the essential and tafriqa the formal attributes of God. 1 
But the Sufis do not use these terms in any of the significations 
which I have mentioned. Now, therefore, I will explain the 
meaning attached to them by the Sufis and the various opinions 
of the Shaykhs on this subject. 

Discourse on Union (jam ) and Separation (tafriqa). 
God united all mankind in His call, as He says, "And God 
calls to the abode of peace" ; then He separated them in respect 
of Divine guidance, and said, " and guides whom He willeth into 
the right way" (Kor. x, 26). He called them all, and banished 
some in accordance with the manifestation of His will ; He 
united them all and gave a command, and then separated 
them, rejecting some and leaving them without succour, but 
accepting others and granting to them Divine aid ; then once 
more he united a certain number and separated them, giving to 
some immunity from sin and to others a propensity towards 
evil. Accordingly the real mystery of union is the knowledge 
and will of God, while separation is the manifestation of 
that which He commands and forbids: e.g., He commanded 
Abraham to behead Ishmael, but willed that he should not 
do so ; and He commanded Ibli s to worship Adam, but willed 
the contrary; and He commanded Adam not to eat the corn, 
but willed that he should eat it ; and so forth. Union is that 
which He unites by His attributes, and separation is that which 
He separates by His acts. All this involves cessation of human 
volition and affirmation of the Divine will so as to exclude all 
personal initiative. As regards what has been said on the 
subject of union and separation, all the Sunni s, except the 

1 For the distinction between sifdt-i dhdt and sifdt-i /ZVsee Dozy, Supplement, ii, 810. 


Mu tazilites, are in agreement with the Sufi Shaykhs, but at 
this point they begin to diverge, some applying the terms in 
question to the Divine Unity (tawhid}^ some to the Divine 
attributes, and some to the Divine acts. Those who refer to 
the Divine Unity say that there are two degrees of union, 
one in the attributes of God and the other in the attributes 
of Man. The former is the mystery of Unification (tawhid\ 
in which human actions have no part whatever ; the latter 
denotes acknowledgment of the Divine Unity with sincere 
conviction and unfailing resolution. This is the opinion of 
Abu All Rudbarf. Those, again, who refer these terms to the 
Divine attributes say that union is an attribute of God, and 
separation an act of God in which Man does not co-operate, 
because God has no rival in Godhead. Therefore union can be 
referred only to His substance and attributes, for union is 
equality in the fundamental matter (al-taswiyat fi l-asl\ and no 
two things are equal in respect of eternity except His substance 
and His attributes, which, when they are separated by expository 
analysis ( ibdrat u tafsil\ are not united. This means that God 
has eternal attributes, which are peculiar to Him and subsist 
through Him ; and that He and His attributes are not two, for 
His Unity does not admit difference and number. On this 
ground, union is impossible except in the sense indicated above. 
Separation in predicament (al-tafriqat fi l-hukui) refers to 
the actions of God, all of which are separate in this respect. 
The predicament of one is being (wujud}\ of another, not-being 
( l adam\ but a not-being that is capable of being ; of another, 
annihilation (fand\ and of another subsistence (baqa). There 
are some, again, who refer these terms to knowledge (V/;#) and 
say that union is knowledge of the Divine Unity and separation 
knowledge of the Divine ordinances : hence theology is union 
and jurisprudence is separation. One of the Shaykhs has said, 
to the same effect : " Union is that on which theologians 
(aid al-ihri} are agreed, and separation is that on which they 
differ." Again, all the Sufi mystics, whenever they use the 
term "separation" in the course of their expositions and 


indications, attach to it the meaning of " human actions " 
(inakdsib\ e.g. self-mortification, and by " union " they signify 
"divine gifts" (inaivdhib\ e.g. contemplation. Whatever is 
gained by means of mortification is " separation ", and whatever 
is solely the result of Divine favour and guidance is " union ". 
It is Man s glory that, while his actions exist and mortification 
is possible, he should escape by God s goodness from the 
imperfection of his own actions, and should find them to be 
absorbed in the bounties of God, so that he depends entirely on 
God and commits all his attributes to His charge and refers all 
his actions to Him and none to himself, as Gabriel told the 
Apostle that God said: "My servant continually seeks access to 
Me by means of works of supererogation until I love him; and 
when I love him, I am his ear and his eye and his hand and his 
heart and his tongue : through Me he hears and sees and speaks 
and grasps," i.e., in remembering Me he is enraptured by the 
remembrance (dhikr) of Me, and his own " acquisition " (kasU) is 
annihilated so as to have no part in his remembrance, and My 
remembrance overpowers his remembrance, and the relation 
ship of humanity (adamiyyaf) is entirely removed from his 
remembrance : then My remembrance is his remembrance, and 
in his rapture he becomes even as Abu Yazfd in the hour when 
he said : " Glory to me ! how great is my majesty ! " These 
words were the outward sign of his speech, but the speaker was 
God. Similarly, the Apostle said : " God speaks by the tongue 
of Umar." The fact is that when the Divine omnipotence 
manifests its dominion over humanity, it transports a man out 
of his own being, so that his speech becomes the speech of God. 
But it is impossible that God should be mingled (imtizdj} with 
created beings or made one (ittihdd) with His works or become 
incarnate (hdlt) in things : God is exalted far above that, and 
far above that which the heretics ascribe to Him. 

It may happen, then, that God s love holds absolute sway 
over the heart of His servant, and that his reason and natural 
faculties are too weak to sustain its rapture and intensity, and 
that he loses all control of his power to act (kasb). This state 


is called "union". 1 Herewith are connected all extraordinary 
miracles (i jdz) and acts of miraculous grace (kardmdt). All 
ordinary actions are " separation ", and all acts which violate 
custom are " union ". God bestows these miracles on His 
prophets and saints, and refers His actions to them and theirs 
to Himself, as He hath said : " Verily , they wJio swear fealty 
unto thee, swear fealty unto God" (Kor. xlviii, 10), and again: 
" Whosoever obeys the Apostle has obeyed God" (Kor. iv, 82). 
Accordingly, His saints are united (mujtami 1 ) by their inward 
feelings (asrdr) and separated (muftariq) by their outward 
behaviour, so that their love of God is strengthened by the 
internal union, and the right fulfilment of their duty as servants 
of God is assured by their external separation. A certain great 
Shaykh says 

"/ have realized that which is within me, and my tongue hath 

conversed with Thee in secret, 
And we are united in one respect, but we are separated in 


Although awe has hidden Thee from tJie glances of mine eye, 
Ecstasy has made Thee near to my inmost parts" 2 

The state of being inwardly united he calls " union ", and the 
secret conversation of the tongue he calls "separation"; then 
he indicates that both union and separation are in himself, and 
attributes the basis (qd ida) of them to himself. This is very 


Here I must notice a matter of controversy between us and 
those who maintain that the manifestation of union is the 
denial of separation, because the two terms contradict each 

1 Here the author illustrates the meaning of "union " and "separation " by the 
action of Muhammad when he threw gravel in the eyes of the unbelievers at Badr, 
and by that of David when he slew Goliath. See p. 185 supra. 

3 The last words are corrupt and unmetrical in all the texts. I have found the 

true reading, ^J^J UJ>-Vl ^_ * , in a MS. of the Kitdb al-Luma 1 by Abu Nasr 
al-Sarraj, which has recently come into the possession of Mr. A. G. Ellis. 


other, and that when anyone passes under the absolute sway 
of Divine guidance he ceases to act and to mortify himself. 
This is sheer nullification (taV//), for a man must never cease to 
practise devotion and mortify himself as long as he has the 
possibility and power of doing so. Moreover, union is not 
apart from separation, as light is apart from the sun, and 
accident from substance, and attribute from object : therefore, 
neither is self-mortification apart from Divine guidance, nor 
the Truth from the Law, nor discovery from search. But 
mortification may precede or follow Divine guidance. In the 
former case a man s tribulation is increased, because he is in 
"absence" (g/iaybat), while in the latter case he has no trouble 
or pain, because he is in " presence " (hadraf). Those to whom 
negation is the source (mashrab) of actions, and to whom it 
seems to be the substance (^ayn] of action, commit a grave 
error. A man, however, may attain such a degree that he 
regards all his qualities as faulty and defective, for when he 
sees that his praiseworthy qualities are vicious and imperfect, 
his blameworthy qualities will necessarily appear more vicious. 
I adduce these considerations because some ignorant persons, 
who have fallen into an error that is closely akin to infidelity, 
assert that no result whatever depends upon our exertion, and 
that inasmuch as our actions and devotions are faulty and our 
mortifications are imperfect a thing left undone is better than 
a thing done. To this argument I reply : " You are agreed in 
supposing that everything done by us has an energy (fi l), and 
you declare that our energies are a centre of defect and a source 
of evil and corruption : consequently you must also suppose 
that things left undone by us have an energy ; and since in 
both cases there is an energy involving defect, how can you 
regard that which we leave undone as better than that which 
we do? " This notion evidently is a noxious delusion. Here we 
have an excellent criterion to distinguish the believer from the 
infidel. Both agree that their energies are inherently defective, 
but the believer, in accordance with God s command, deems 
a thing done to be better than a thing left undone, while the 


infidel, in accordance with his denial of the Creator (t atll), 
deems a thing left undone to be better than a thing done. 

Union, then, involves this that, although the imperfection of 
separation is recognized, its authority (Jiukni) should not be let 
go ; and separation involves this that, although one is veiled 
from the sight of union, he nevertheless thinks that separation 
is union. Muzayyin the Elder * says in this sense : " Union is 
the state of privilege (kJiusiisiyyai) and separation is the state 
of a servant (^ubildiyyat\ these states being indissolubly 
combined with each other," because it is a work of the 
privileged state to fulfil the duties of servantship ; therefore, 
although the tediousness and painfulness of self-mortification 
and personal effort may be removed from one who performs all 
that is required of him in this respect, it is impossible that the 
substance ( aytt) of self-mortification and religious obligation 
should be removed from anyone, even though he be in the 
essence of union, unless he has an evident excuse that is 
generally acknowledged by the authority of the religious law. 
Now I will explain this matter in order that you may better 
understand it. 

Union is of two kinds : (i) sound union (jam -i saldmat\ and 
(2) broken union (jan?-i taksir}. Sound union is that which 
God produces in a man when he is in the state of rapture and 
ecstasy, and when God causes him to receive and fulfil His 
commandments and to mortify himself. This was the state 
of Sahl b. Abdallah and Abu Hafs Haddad and Abu VAbbas 
Sayyari, the author of the doctrine. Abu Yazi d of Bistam, 
Abu Bakr Shibli, Abu 1- Hasan Husri, and a number of great 
Shaykhs were continually in a state of rapture until the hour of 
prayer arrived ; then they returned to consciousness, arid after 
performing their prayers became enraptured again. While thou 
art in the state of separation, thou art thou, and thou fulfillest 
the command of God ; but when God transports thee He has 
the best right to see that thou performest His command, for 
two reasons : firstly, in order that the token of servantship may 

1 Nafahdt, No. 188. 



not be removed from thee, and secondly, in order that He may 
keep His promise that He will never let the law of Muhammad 
be abrogated. " Broken union " (jam*-i taksir} is this : that 
a man s judgment becomes distraught and bewildered, so that 
it is like the judgment of a lunatic: then he is either excused 
from performing his religious obligations or rewarded (mas/iklir) 
for performing them ; and the state of him who is rewarded is 
sounder than the state of him who is excused. 

You must know, in short, that union does not involve any 
peculiar "station" (jnaqdnt} or any peculiar "state" (//#/), for 
union is the concentration of one s thoughts (jam -i Jiivimaf] 
upon the object of one s desire. According to some the 
revelation of this matter takes place in the " stations " 
(magrdmat), according to others in the " states " (ahwdl\ and 
in either case the desire of the "united" person (sahib jam^ is 
attained by negating his desire. This holds good in everything, 
e.g., Jacob concentrated his thoughts on Joseph, so that he had 
no thought but of him ; and Majnun concentrated his thoughts 
on Layla, so that he saw only her in the whole world, and 
all created things assumed the form of Layla in his eyes. 
One day, when Abu Yazi d was in his cell, some one came 
and asked: "Is Abu Yazi d here?" He answered: "Is any 
one here except God ? " And a certain Shaykh relates that 
a dervish came to Mecca and remained in contemplation of 
the Ka ba for a whole year, during which time he neither ate 
nor drank, nor slept, nor cleansed himself, because of the 
concentration of his thoughts upon the Ka ba, which thereby 
became the food of his body and the drink of his soul. The 
principle in all these cases is the same, viz. that God divided 
the one substance of His love and bestows a particle thereof, 
as a peculiar gift, upon every one of His friends in proportion 
to their enravishment with Him ; then He lets down upon that 
particle the shrouds of humanity and nature and temperament 
and spirit, in order that by its powerful working it may 
transmute to its own quality all the particles that are attached 
to it, until the lover s clay is wholly converted into love, and all 


his actions and looks become so many indispensable conditions 
of love. This state is named " union " alike by those who 
regard the inward meaning and those who regard the outward 
expression. Husayn b. Mansur (al-Hallaj) says in this sense : 

" Thy will be done, O my Lord and Master ! 
Thy will be done, O my purpose and meaning ! 
essence of my being, O goal of my desire, 
my speech and my hints and my gestures ! 
O all of my all, O my hearing and my sight, 
O my whole and my element and my particles ! " 

Therefore, to one whose qualities are only borrowed from 
God, it is a disgrace to affirm his own existence, and an act 
of dualism (zunndr) to pay any heed to the phenomenal 
universe ; and all created objects are despicable to his soaring 
thought. Some have been led by their dialectical subtlety and 
their admiration of phraseology to speak of " the union of 
union " (jam 1 al-javf). This is a good expression as phrases 
go, but if you consider the meaning, it is better not to predicate 
union of union, because the term " union " cannot properly be 
applied except to separation. Before union can be united it 
must first have been separated, whereas the fact is that union 
does not change its state. The expression, therefore, is liable 
to be misunderstood, because one who is " united " does not 
look forth from himself to what is above or to what is below 
him. Do not you perceive that when the two worlds were 
displayed to the Apostle on the night of the Ascension he paid 
no heed to anything? He was in "union", and one who is 
" united " does not behold " separation ". Hence God said : 
"His gaze swerved not, nor did it stray" (Kor. liii, 17). In my 
early days I composed a book on this subject and entitled it 
Kitdb al-baydn li-ald al- iydn, 1 and I have also discussed the 
matter at length in the Bahr al-qulub 2 in the chapter on 

1 " The Book of Exposition for Persons of Intuition." 

2 "The Sea of Hearts. " 


" Union ". I will not now burden my readers by adding to what 
I have said here. 

This sketch of the doctrine of the Sayyaris concludes my 
account of those Sufi sects which are approved and follow the 
path of true theosophy. I now turn to the opinions of those 
heretics who have connected themselves with the Sufis and 
have adopted Sufiistic phraseology as a means of promulgating 
their heresy. My aim is to expose their errors in order that 
novices may not be deceived by their pretensions and may 
guard themselves from mischief. 


Of those two reprobate sects which profess to belong to 
Sufiism and make the Sufis partners in their error, one follows 
Abu Hulman of Damascus. 1 The stories which his adherents 
relate of him do not agree with what is written about him in 
the books of the Shaykhs, for, while the Sufi s regard him as 
one of themselves, these sectaries impute to him the doctrines 
of incarnation (Jiulill) and commixture (initizdj) and trans 
migration of spirits (naskk-i arwd/i). I have seen this statement 
in the book of Muqaddasi, 2 who attacks him ; and the same 
notion of him has been formed by theologians, but God knows 
best what is the truth. The other sect refer their doctrine to 
Paris, 3 who pretends to have derived it from Husayn b. Mansur 
(al-Hallaj), but he is the only one of Husayn s followers who 
holds such tenets. I saw Abii Ja far Saydalani 4 with four 
thousand men, dispersed throughout Iraq, who were Hallajis ; 
and they all cursed Paris on account of this doctrine. More 
over, in the compositions of al-Hallaj himself there is nothing 
but profound theosophy. 

1 See note, p. 131. 

2 The nisba Muqaddasi or Maqdisi belongs to a number of Moslem writers. I da 
not know which of them is intended here. 

3 See Nafahat, No. 178. 

4 This person, whom the author has already mentioned at the beginning of 
Chapter XIII, is not identical with the Sufi of the same name who was a con 
temporary of Junayd (Nafahdt, No. 197). 


I, All b. Uthman al-Jullabi, say that I do not know who 
Faris and Abu Hulman were or what they said, but anyone who 
holds a doctrine conflicting with Unification and true theosophy 
has no part in religion at all. If religion, which is the root, 
is not firmly based, Sufiism, which is the branch and offspring 
of religion, must with more reason be unsound, for it is in 
conceivable that miracles and evidences should be manifested 
except to religious persons and Unitarians. All the errors 
of these sectaries.- are in regard to the spirit (rilJi). Now, 
therefore, I will explain its nature and principles according 
to the Sunni canon, and in the course of my explanation I will 
notice the erroneous and delusive opinions of the heretics in 
order that your faith may be strengthened thereby. 

Discourse on tJie Spirit (al-ruh). 

You_ must know that knowledge concerning the existence 
of the spirit is intuitive (darnri), and the intelligence is unable 
to apprehend its (the spirit s) nature. Every Moslem divine 
and sage has expressed some conjectural opinion on this point, 
which has also been debated by unbelievers of various sorts. 
When the unbelievers of Quraysh, prompted by the Jews, sent 
Nadr b. al-Harith to question the Apostle concerning the 
nature and essence of the spirit, God in the first place affirmed 
its substance and said, "And they will ask thee concerning the 
s Pinl^ ; then He denied its eternity, saying, "Answer, The 
spirit belongs to that whicJi (i.e. the creation of which) my Lord 
covtmanded " (Kor. xvii, 87). And the Apostle said: "The 
spirits are hosts gathered together : those that know one 
another agree, and those that do not know one another 
disagree." There are many similar proofs of the existence 
of the spirit, but they contain no authoritative statement as 
to its nature. Some have said that the spirit is the life 
whereby the body lives, a view which is also held by a number 
of scholastic philosophers. According to this view the spirit is 
an accident ( arad), which at God s command keeps the body 
alive, and from which proceed conjunction, motion, cohesion. 


and similar accidents by which the body is changed from one 
state to another. Others, again, declare that the spirit is not 
life, but that life does not exist without it, just as the spirit 
does not exist without the body, and that the two are never 
found apart, because they are inseparable, like pain and the 
knowledge of pain. According to this view also the spirit is 
an accident, like life. All the Sufi Shaykhs, however, and 
most orthodox Moslems hold that the spirit is a substance, 
and not an attribute ; for, so long as it is connected with the 
body, God continually creates life in the body, and the life of 
Man is an attribute and by it he lives, but the spirit is 
deposited in his body and may be separated from him while 
he is still living, as in sleep. But when it leaves him, 
intelligence and knowledge can no longer remain with him, 
for the Apostle has said that the spirits of martyrs are in the 
crops of birds : consequently it must be a substance ; and the 
Apostle has said that the spirits are hosts (jumid\ and hosts 
are subsistent (bdqi], and no accident can subsist, for an 
accident does not stand by itself. 

The spirit, then, is a subtle body (jismi latif\ which comes 
and goes by the command of God. On the night of the 
Ascension, when the Apostle saw in Heaven Adam, Joseph, 
Moses, Aaron, Jesus, and Abraham, it was their spirits that he 
saw ; and if the spirit were an accident, it would not stand by 
itself so as to become visible, for it would need a locus in 
substances, and substances are gross (kathif}. Accordingly, it. 
has been ascertained that the spirit is subtle and corporeal 
{jasim\ and being corporeal, it is visible, but visible only to the 
eye of intelligence (chashm-i diF). And spirits may reside in 
the crops of birds or may be armies that move to and fro, as 
the Apostolic Traditions declare. 

Here we are at variance with the heretics, who assert that the 
spirit is eternal (qadim\ and worship it, and regard it as the 


sole agent and governor of things, and call it the uncreated 
spirit of God, and aver that it passes from one body to another. 
No popular error has obtained such wide acceptance as this 


doctrine, which is held by the Christians, although they express 
it in terms that appear to conflict with it, and by all the Indians, 
Tibetans, and Chinese, and is supported by the consensus 
of opinion among the Shi ites, Carmathians, and Isma ili s 
(Bdtiniydn\ and is embraced by the two false sects above- 
mentioned. All these sectaries base their belief on certain 
propositions and bring forward proofs in defence of their 
assertion. I ask them this question : " What do you mean by 
eternity (qidani) ? Do you mean the pre-existence of a non- 
eternal thing, or an eternal thing that never came into being?" 
If they mean the pre-existence of a non- eternal thing, then 
there is no difference between us in principle, for we too say 
that the spirit is non-eternal (muhdatli), and that it existed 
before the body, as the Apostle said : " God created the spirits 
two thousand years before the bodies." Accordingly, the spirit 
is one sort of God s creatures, and He joins it to another sort 
of His creatures, and in joining them together He produces 
life through His predestination. But the spirit cannot pass from 
body to body, because, just as a body cannot have two lives, 
so a spirit cannot have two bodies. If these facts were not 
affirmed in Apostolic Traditions by an Apostle who speaks 
the truth, and if the matter were considered purely from the 
standpoint of a reasonable intelligence, then the spirit would 
be life and nothing else, and it would be an attribute, not 
a substance. Now suppose, on the other hand, they say that 
the spirit is an eternal thing that never came into being. In 
this case, I ask : " Does it stand by itself or by something 
else?" If they say, "By itself," I ask them, "Is God its 
world ( l dlani) or not?" If they answer that God is not its 
world, they affirm the existence of two eternal beings, which is 
contrary to reason, for the eternal is infinite, and the essence of 
one eternal being would limit the other. But if they answer 
that God is its world, then I say that God is eternal and His 
creatures are non-eternal : it is impossible that the eternal 
should be commingled with the non-eternal or made one with 
it, or become immanent in it, or that the non-eternal should be 


the place of the eternal or that the eternal should carry it ; 
for whatever is joined to anything must be like that to which 
it is joined, and only homogeneous things are capable of being 
united and separated. And if they say that the spirit does not 
stand by itself, but by something else, then it must be either 
an attribute (sifaf) or an accident ( l arad). If it is an accident, 
it must either be in a locus or not. If it is in a locus, its locus 
must be like itself, and neither can be called eternal ; and to 
say that it has no locus is absurd, for an accident cannot stand 
by itself. If, again, they say that the spirit is an eternal 
attribute and this is the doctrine of the Huluhs and those 
who believe in metempsychosis (tandsukJiiydn) and call it an 
attribute of God, I reply that an eternal attribute of God 
cannot possibly become an attribute of His creatures ; for, if 
His life could become the life of His creatures, similarly His 
power could become their power ; and inasmuch as an attribute 
stands by its object, how can an eternal attribute stand by 
a non-eternal object? Therefore, as I have shown, the eternal 
has no connexion with the non-eternal, and the doctrine of the 
heretics who affirm this is false. The spirit is created and is 
under God s command. Anyone who holds another belief is 
in flagrant error and cannot distinguish what is non-eternal 
from what is eternal. No saint, if his saintship be sound, can 
possibly be ignorant of the attributes of God. I give praise 
without end to God, who hath guarded us from heresies and 
dangers, and hath bestowed on us intelligence to examine and 
refute them by our arguments, and hath given us faith in order 
that we may know Him. When men who see only the exterior 
hear stories of this kind from theologians, they imagine that 
this is the doctrine of all aspirants to Sufiism. They are 
grossly mistaken and utterly deceived, and the consequence is 
that they are blinded to the beauty of our mystic knowledge 
and to the loveliness of Divine saintship and to the flashes of 
spiritual illumination, because eminent Sufis regard popular 
applause and popular censure with equal indifference. 



One of the Shaykhs says : " The spirit in the body is like fire 
in fuel ; the fire is created (inakhtitq) and the coal is made 
(masmi^r Nothing can be described as eternal except the 
essence and attributes of God. Abu Bakr Wasiti has discoursed 
on the spirit more than any of the Sufi Shaykhs. It is related 
that he said : " There are ten stations (inaqdmdf) of spirits : 
(i) the spirits of the sincere (mukhltsdn}, which are imprisoned 
in a darkness and know not what will befall them ; (2)_the 
spirits of pious men (pdrsd-marddn\ which in the heaven of this 
world rejoice in the fruits of their actions and take pleasure in 
devotions, and walk by the strength thereof; (3) the spirits of 
disciples (miirtddti), which are in the fourth heaven and dwell 
with the angels in the delights of veracity, and in the shadow 
of their good works ; (4) the spirits of the beneficent (aJil-i 
minaii), which are hung in lamps of light from the Throne of 
God, and their food is mercy, and their drink is favour and 
proximity ; (5) the spirits of the faithful (ahl-i ivafd\ which 
thrill with joy in the veil of purity and the station of electness 
(istifd) ; (6) the spirits of martyrs (shahfddn\ which are in 
Paradise in the crops of birds, and go where they will in its 
gardens early and late ; (7) the spirits of those who yearn 
(inushtdqdri)) which stand on the carpet of respect (adati) clad 
in the luminous veils of the Divine attributes ; (8) the spirits of 
gnostics ( l drifdn), which, in the precincts of holiness, listen at 
morn and eve to the word of God and see their places in 
Paradise and in this world ; (9) the spirits of lovers (dtistdn}, 
which have become absorbed in contemplation of the Divine 
beauty and the station of revelation (kasJif\ and perceive 
nothing but God and rest content with no other thing ; 
(10) the spirits of dervishes, which have found favour with 
God in the abode of annihilation, and have suffered a trans 
formation of quality and a change of state." 

It is related concerning the Shaykhs that they have seen the 
spirit in different shapes, and this may well be, because, as 
I have said, it is created, and a subtle body (jismi lattf] is 


necessarily visible. God shows it to every one of His servants, 
when and as it pleases Him. 

I, All b. Uthman al-Jullabi, declare that our life is wholly 
through God, and our stability is through Him, and our being- 
kept alive is the act of God in us, and we live through His 
creation, not through His essence and attributes. The doctrine 
of the animists (riihiydti) is entirely false. Belief in the 
eternity of the spirit is one of the grave errors which prevail 
among the vulgar, and is expressed in different ways, e.g. they 
use the terms " soul " and " matter " (nafs 11 hayiild), or " light " 
and " darkness " (nur u zulmai), and those Sufi impostors speak 
of " annihilation " and " subsistence " (fand u baqd), or " union " 
and " separation " (jam u tafriqa], or adopt similar phrases as 
a fair mask for their infidelity. But the Sufis abjure these 
heretics, for the Sufis hold that saintship and true love of God 
depend on knowledge of Him, and anyone who does not know 
the eternal from the non-eternal is ignorant in what he says, 
and the intelligent pay no attention to what is said by the 
ignorant. Now I will unveil the portals of the practice and 
theory of the Sufis, furnishing my explanation with evident 
proofs, in order that you may the more easily comprehend my 
meaning, and that any sceptic possessed of insight may be led 
back into the right way, and that I may thereby gain a blessing 
and a Divine reward. 


THE GNOSIS OF GOD (ma rifat Allah). ~ 

The Apostle said: "If ye knew God as He ought to be 
known, ye would walk on the seas, and the mountains would 
move at your call." Gnosis of God is of two kinds : cognitional 
( //;;//) and emotional (Jidlf). Cognitional gnosis is the founda 
tion of all blessings in this world and in the next, for the most 
important thing for a man at all times and in all circumstances 
is knowledge of God, as God hath said : " / only created the genii 
and mankind that they might serve Me " (Kor. li, 56), i.e. that 
they might know Me. But the greater part of men neglect this 
duty, except those whom God hath chosen and whose hearts 
He hath vivified with Himself. Gnosis is the life of the heart 
through God, and the turning away of one s inmost thoughts 
from all that is not God. The worth of everyone is in 
proportion to gnosis, and he who is without gnosis is worth 
nothing. Theologians, lawyers, and other classes of men give 
the name of gnosis (ma rtfat) to right cognition ( //;;/) of God, 
but the Sufi Shaykhs call right feeling (Jidl) towards God by 
that name. Hence they have said that gnosis (mcfrifat} is 
more excellent than cognition ( l ilm), for right feeling (hdl} is 
the result of right cognition, but right cognition is not the same 
thing as right feeling, i.e. one who has not cognition of God is 
not a gnostic (^drif\ but one may have cognition of God 
without being a gnostic. Those of either class who were 
ignorant of this distinction engaged in useless controversy, and 
the one party disbelieved in the other party. Now I will 
explain the matter in order that both may be instructed. 



You must know that there is a great difference of opinion 
touching the gnosis and right cognition of God. The Mu ta- 
zilites assert that gnosis is intellectual and that only a reasonable 
person ( dqil) can possibly have it. This doctrine is disproved 
by the fact that madmen, within Islam, are deemed to have 
gnosis, and that children, who are not reasonable, are deemed 
to have faith. Were the criterion of gnosis an intellectual one, 
such persons must be without gnosis, while unbelievers could 
not be charged with infidelity, provided only that they were 
reasonable beings. If reason were the cause of gnosis, it would 
follow that every reasonable person must know God, and that 
all who lack reason must be ignorant of Him ; which is 
manifestly absurd. Others pretend that demonstration (istidldl) 
is the cause of knowledge of God, and that such knowledge is 
not gained except by those who deduce it in this manner. The 
futility of this doctrine is exemplified by Iblis, for he saw 
many evidences, such as Paradise, Hell, and the Throne of 
God, yet they did not cause him to have gnosis. God hath said 
that Jmowledge of Him depends on His will (Kor. vi, in). 
According to the view of orthodox Moslems, soundness of 
reason and regard to evidences are a means (sabab) to gnosis, 
but not the cause ( illaf) thereof: the sole cause is God s will 
and favour, for without His favour (^indyaf) reason is blind. 
Reason does not even know itself: how, then, can it know 
another? Heretics of all sorts use the demonstrative method, 
but the majority of them do not know God. On the other hand, 
whenever one enjoys the favour of God, all his actions are so 
many tokens of gnosis ; his demonstration is search (talab) y and 
his neglect of demonstration is resignation to God s will 
(tasltni} ; but, in reference to perfect gnosis, resignation is no 
better than search, for search is a principle that cannot be 
neglected, while resignation is a principle that excludes the 
possibility of agitation (idtirdb), and these two principles do not 
essentially involve gnosis. In reality Man s only guide and 
enlightener is God. Reason and the proofs adduced by reason 


are unable to direct anyone into the right way. If the infidels 
were to return from the place of Judgment to this world, they 
would bring their infidelity back with them (cf. Kor. vi, 28). 
When the Commander of the Faithful, All, was asked con 
cerning gnosis, he said : " I know God by God, and I know 
that which is not God by the light of God." God created the 
Hody and committed its life to the spirit (jdn\ and He created 
the soul (dil} and committed its life to Himself. Hence, 
inasmuch as reason and human faculties and evidences have no 
power to make the body live, they cannot make the soul live, as 
God hath said : " Shall he who was dead and whom We have 
restored to life and to whom We have given a light whereby he 
may walk among men . . . ?" (Kor. vi, 122), i.e. U I am the 
Creator of the light in which believers are illumined ". It is God 
that opens and seals the hearts of men (Kor. xxxix, 23 ; ii, 6) : 
therefore He alone is able to guide them. Everything except 
Him is a cause or a means, and causes and means cannot 
possibly indicate the right way without the favour of the 
Causer. He it is that imposes the obligation of piety, which is 
essentially gnosis ; and those on whom that obligation is laid, 
so long as they are in the state of obligation, neither bring it 
upon themselves nor put it away from themselves by their own 
choice : therefore Man s share in gnosis, unless God makes him 
know, is mere helplessness. Abu 1-Hasan Nun says : "There 
is none to point out the way to God except God Himself: 
knowledge is sought only for due performance of His worship." 
No created being is capable of leading anyone to God. Those 
who rely on demonstration are not more reasonable than was 
Abu Talib, and no guide is greater than was Muhammad ; yet, 
since Abu Talib was preordained to misery, the guidance of 
Muhammad did not avail him. The first step of demonstration 
is a turning away from God, because demonstration involves the 
consideration of some other thing, whereas gnosis is a turning 
away from all that is not God. Ordinary objects of search are 
found by means of demonstration, but knowledge of God is 
extraordinary. Therefore, knowledge of Him is attained only 


by unceasing bewilderment of the reason, and His favour is not 
procured by any act of human acquisition, but is miraculously 
revealed to men s hearts. What is not God is phenomenal 
(mn/idat/i\ and although a phenomenal being may reach another 
like himself he cannot reach his Creator and acquire Him 
while he exists, for in every act of acquisition he who makes the 
acquisition is predominant and the thing acquired is under his 
power. Accordingly, the miracle is not that reason should be 
led by the act to affirm the existence of the Agent, but that 
a saint should be led by the light of the Truth to deny his own 
existence. The knowledge gained is in the one case a matter of 
logic, in the other it becomes an inward experience. Let those 
who deem reason to be the cause of gnosis consider what reason 
affirms in their minds concerning the substance of gnosis, for 
gnosis involves the negation of whatever is affirmed by reason, 
i.e. whatever notion of God can be formed by reason, God is in 
reality something different. How, then, is there any room for 
reason to arrive at gnosis by means of demonstration ? Reason 
and imagination are homogeneous, and where genus is affirmed 
gnosis is denied. To infer the existence of God from intellectual 
proofs is assimilation (taslilriJi], and to deny it on the same 
grounds is nullification (ta til). Reason cannot pass beyond_ 
these two principles, which in regard to gnosis are agnosticism, 
since neither of the parties professing them is Unitarian 

Therefore, when reason is gone as far as possible, and the 
souls of His lovers must needs search for Him, the)* rest 
helplessly without their faculties, and while they so rest they 
grow restless and stretch their hands in supplication and seek 
a relief for their souls ; and when they have exhausted every 
manner of search in their power, the power of God becomes 
Theirs, i.e. they find the way from Him to Him, and are eased of 
the anguish of absence and set foot in the garden of intimacy 
and win to rest. 4 And reason, when it sees that the souls have 
attained their desire, tries to exert its control, but fails ; and 
when it fails it becomes distraught ; and when it becomes 


distraught it abdicates. Then God clothes it in the garment of 
service (khidinai} and says to it : " While thou wert independent 
thou wert veiled by thy faculties and their exercise, and when 
these were annihilated thou didst fail, and having failed thou 
didst attain." Thus it is the allotted portion of the soul to be 
near unto God, and that of the reason is to do His service. 
God causes Man to know Him through Himself with a know 
ledge that is not linked to any faculty, a knowledge in which 
the existence of Man is merely metaphorical. Hence to the 
gnostic egoism is utter perfidy ; his remembrance of God is 
without forgetfulness, and his gnosis is not empty words .but 
actual feeling. 

Others, again, declare that gnosis is the result of inspiration 
(ilhdui). This also is impossible, because gnosis supplies 
a criterion for distinguishing truth from falsehood, whereas the 
inspired have no such criterion. If one says, " I know by 
inspiration that God is in space," and another says, " I know 
by inspiration that He is not in space," one of these contra 
dictory statements must be true, but a proof is necessary in 
order to decide where the truth lies. Consequently, this 
view, which is held by the Brahmans and the inspirationists 
(ilhdmiydii}, falls to the ground. In the present age I have met 
a number of persons who carried it to an extreme and who 
connected their own position with the doctrine of religious men, 
but they are altogether in error, and their assertion is repugnant 
to all reasonable Moslems and unbelievers. If it be said that 
whatever conflicts with the sacred law is not inspiration, I reply 
that this argument is fundamentally unsound, because, if 
inspiration is to be judged and verified by the standard of the 
sacred law, then gnosis does not depend on inspiration, but on 
law and prophecy and Divine guidance. 

Others assert that knowledge of God is intuitive (daruri}. 

^This also is impossible. Everything that is known in this way 

must be known in common by all reasonable men, and inasmuch 

as we see that some reasonable men deny the existence of God 

and hold the doctrines of assimilation (tashbili) and nullification 


(tcttl\ it is proved that knowledge of God is not intuitive. 
Moreover, if it were so, the principle of religious obligation 
(takltf} would be destroyed, for that principle cannot possibly 
be applied to objects of intuitive knowledge, such as one s self, 
the heaven and the earth, day and night, pleasure and pain, etc., 
concerning the existence of which no reasonable man can have 
any doubt, and which he must know even against his will. But 
some aspirants to Sufiism, considering the absolute certainty 
(yaqm) which they feel, say : " We know God intuitively, 
giving the name of intuition to this certainty. Substantially 
they are right, but their expression is erroneous, because 
intuitive knowledge cannot be exclusively restricted to those 
who are perfect ; on the contrary, it belongs to all reasonable 
men. Furthermore, it appears in the minds of living creatures 
without any means or evidence, whereas the knowledge of God 
is a means (sababi). But Master Abu All Daqqaq and Shaykh 
Abu Sahl Su luki 1 and his father, who was a leading religious 
authority at Nishapur, maintain that the beginning of gnosis is 
demonstrative and that its end is intuitive, just as technical 
knowledge is first acquired and finally becomes instinctive. 
" Do not you perceive," they say, " that in Paradise knowledge 
of God becomes intuitive ? Why should it not become intuitive 
in this world too? And the Apostles, when they heard the 
word of God, either immediately or from the mouth of an angel 
or by revelation, knew Him intuitively." I reply that the 
inhabitants of Paradise know God intuitively in Paradise, 
because in Paradise no religious obligation is imposed, and 
the Apostles have no fear of being separated from God at the 
last, but enjoy the same security as those who know Him 
intuitively. The excellence of gnosis and faith lies in their 
being hidden ; ^ArfierT they are made visible, faith becomes 
compulsory (jabr\ and there is no longer any free will in regard 
to its visible substance ( ( ayn\ and the foundations of the religious 
law are shaken, and the principle of apostasy is annulled, so 

1 See Nafahdt, No. 373. 


that Bal am 1 and Iblis and Barsisa 2 cannot properly be described 
as infidels, for it is generally allowed that they had knowledge 
of God. The gnostic, while he remains a gnostic, has no fear of 
being separated from God ; separation is produced by the loss 
of gnosis, but intuitive knowledge cannot conceivably be lost. 
This doctrine is full of danger to the vulgar. In order that you 
may avoid its evil consequences you must know that Man s 
knowledge and his gnosis of God depend entirely on the 
information and eternal guidance of the Truth. Man s certainty 
in gnosis may be now greater and now less, but the 

gnosis is neither increased nor diminished, since in either case 
it would be impaired. You must not let blind conformity enter 
into your knowledge of God, and you must know Him through 
His attributes of perfection. This can be attained only through 
the providence and favour of God, who has absolute control of 
our minds. If Me so will, He makes one of His actions a guide 
that shows us the way to Himself, and if He will otherwise, He 
makes that same action an obstacle that prevents us from 
reaching Him. Thus Jesus was to some a guide that led them 
to gnosis, but to others he was an obstacle that hindered them 
from gnosis; the former party said, "This is the servant of 
God," and the latter said, " This is the son of God." Similarly, 
some were led to God by idols and by the sun and moon, while 
others were led astray. Such guides are a means of gnosis, but 
not the immediate cause of it, and one means is no better than 
another in relation to Him who is the author of them all. The 
gnostic s affirmation of a means is a sign of dualism (zunndr), 
and regard to anything except the object of knowledge is 
polytheism (shirk). When a man is doomed to perdition in the 
Preserved Tablet, nay, in the will and knowledge of God, how 
can any proof and demonstration lead him aright ? The most 
high God, as He pleases and by whatever means He pleases, 
shows His servant the way to Himself and opens to him the 

1 See Baydawi on Kor, vii, 174. 

2 See Goldziher & Landberg, Die Legends vom Monch Barsisja (1896), and 
M. Hartmann, Der heilige Barsisa in Der Islamische Orient (1905), i, 23-8. 



door of gnosis, so that he attains to a degree where the very 
essence of gnosis appears alien (ghayr) and its attributes become 
noxious to him, and he is veiled by his gnosis from the object 
known and realizes that his gnosis is a pretension (da*wd). 
Dhu 1-Nun the Egyptian says : " Beware lest thou make 
pretensions to gnosis," and it has been said in verse 

" The gnostics pretend to knowledge, 
But I avow ignorance : that is my knowledge" 

Therefore do not claim gnosis, lest thou perish in thy pretension, 
but cleave to the reality thereof, that thou mayest be saved. 
When anyone is honoured by the revelation of the Divine 
majesty, his existence becomes a plague to him and all his 
attributes a source of corruption. He who belongs to God and 
to whom God belongs is not connected with anything in the 
universe. The real gist of gnosis is to recognize that to God is 
the kingdom. When a man knows that all possessions are in 
the absolute control of God, what further business has he with 
mankind, that he should be veiled from God by them or by 
himself? All such veils are the result of ignorance. As soon 
as ignorance is annihilated, they vanish, and this life is made 
equal in rank to the life hereafter. 


Now, for instruction s sake, I will mention some of the 
numerous sayings which the Shaykhs have uttered on this 

Abdallah b. Mubarak says : " Gnosis consists in not being 
astonished by anything," because astonishment arises from an 
act exceeding the power of the doer, and inasmuch as God is 
omnipotent it is impossible that a gnostic should be astonished 
by His acts. If there be any room for astonishment, one must 
needs marvel that God exalts a handful of earth to such a 
degree that it receives His commands, and a drop of blood to 
such an eminence that it discourses of love and knowledge of 
Him, and seeks vision of Him, and desires union with Him. 


Dhu 1-Nun the Egyptian says : " Gnosis is in reality God s 
providential communication of the spiritual light to our inmost 
hearts," i.e., until God, in His providence, illuminates the heart 
of Man and keeps it from contamination, so that all created 
things have not even the worth of a mustard-seed in his heart, 
the contemplation of Divine mysteries, both inward and out 
ward, does not overwhelm him with rapture ; but when God 
has done this, his every look becomes an act of contemplation 
(mus/idkadat). Shibli says : " Gnosis is continual amazement 
(Jiayrai)" Amazement is of two kinds : (i) amazement at 
the essence and (2) amazement at the quality. The former is 
polytheism and infidelity, because no gnostic can possibly be in 
doubt concerning the essential nature of God ; but the latter is 
gnosis, because the quality of God lies beyond reason s scope. 
Hence a certain one said : " O Guide of the amazed, increase 
my amazement ! " In the first place, he affirmed the existence 
of God and the perfection of His attributes, and recognized that 
He is the object of men s search and the accomplisher of their 
prayers and the author of their amazement ; then he asked for 
increase of amazement and recognized that in seeking God the 
reason has no alternative between amazement and polytheism. 
This sentiment is very fine. It may be, again, that knowledge 
of God s being involves amazement at one s own being, because 
when a man knows God he sees himself entirely subdued by 
the Divine omnipotence ; and since his existence depends on 
God and his non-existence proceeds from God, and his rest and 
motion are produced by the power of God, he becomes amazed, 
saying: "Who and what am I?" In this sense the Apostle 
said: " He who knows himself has come to know his Lord," 
i.e. he who knows himself to be annihilated knows God to 
be eternally subsistent. Annihilation destroys reason and all 
human attributes, and when the substance of a thing is not 
accessible to reason it cannot possibly be known without 
amazement. Abu Yazfd said : " Gnosis consists in knowing 


that the motion and rest of mankind depend on God," and that 
without His permission no one has the least control of His 



kingdojai^and that no one can perform any action until He 
creates the ability to act and puts the will to act in his heart, 
I and that human actions are metaphorical and that God is the 
real agent. Muhammad b. Wasi* says, describing the gnostic : 
His words are few and his amazement perpetual," because 
only finite things admit of being expressed in words, and since 
the infinite cannot be expressed it leaves no resource except 
perpetual amazement. Shibli says: "Real gnosis is the inability 
to attain gnosis," i.e. inability to know a thing, to the real 
nature of which a man has no clue except the impossibility of 
attaining it. Therefore, in attaining it, he will rightly take no 
credit to himself, because inability (^ajz] is search, and so long 
as he depends on his own faculties and attributes, he cannot 
properly be described by that term ; and when these faculties 
and attributes depart, then his state is not inability, but 
annihilation. Some pretenders, while affirming the attributes of 
humanity and the subsistence of the obligation to decide with 
sound judgment (taklif ba-sihhat-i khitdb] and the authority 
maintained over them by God s proof, declare that gnosis is 
impotence, and that they are impotent and unable to attain 
anything. I reply : " In search of what thing have you become 
so helpless?" Impotence (?ajz) has two signs, which are not to 
be found in you : firstly, the annihilation of the faculties of 
search, and secondly, the manifestation of the glory of God 
(tajalli). Where the annihilation of the faculties takes place, 
there is no outward expression (^ibdraf) ; and where the glory 
of God is revealed, no clue can be given and no discrimination 
is conceivable. Hence one who is impotent does not know 
that he is so, or that the state attributed to him is called 
impotence. How should he know this? Impotence is other 
than God, and the affirmation of knowledge of other than God 
is not gnosis ; and so long as there is room in the heart for 
aught except God, or the possibility of expressing aught except 
God, true gnosis has not been attained. The gnostic is not 
a gnostic until he turns aside from all that is not God. Abu 
Hafs Haddad says : " Since I have known God, neither truth 


nor falsehood has entered my heart." When a man feels desire 
and passion he turns to the soul (dil) in order that it may guide 
him to the lower soul (nafs), which is the seat of falsehood ; 
and when he finds the evidence of gnosis, he also turns to the 
soul in order that it may guide him to the spirit, which is 
the source of truth and reality. But when aught except God 
enters the soul, the gnostic, if he turns to it, commits an act of 
agnosticism. There is a great difference between one who 
turns to the soul and one who turns to God. Abu Bakr Wdsiti 
says : " He who knows God is cut off from all things, nay, he is 
dumb and a.b}ect^(&/iarisa wa-nqama a)" i.e. he is unable to 
express anything and all his attributes are annihilated. So the 
Apostle, while he was in the state of absence, said : " I am the 
most eloquent of the Arabs and non-Arabs" ; but when he was 
borne to the presence of God, he said : " JLJiBP^LJ 10 ^ J 1OW to 
utter Thy praise." Answer came : " Muhammad, if thou 
speakest not, 1 will speak ; if thou deemest thyself unworthy to 
praise Me, I will make the universe thy deputy, that all its 
atoms may praise Me in thy name." 



God said, " Your God is one " (Kor. xvi, 23) ; and again, 
"Say, God is one " (Kor. cxii, i). And the Apostle said: 
" Long ago there was a man who did no good work except that 
he pronounced God to be one. When he was dying he said to 
his folk : After my death burn me and gather my ashes and 
on a windy day throw half of them into the sea, and scatter 
half of them to the winds of the earth, that no trace of me may 
be left. As soon as he died and this was done, God bade the 
air and the water keep the ashes which they had received until 
. the Resurrection ; and when He raises that man from the dead, 

He will ask him why he caused himself to be burnt, and he will 
reply : O Lord, from shame of Thee, for I was a great sinner, 
and God will pardon him." 

Real unification (taw hid) consists in asserting the unity of 
a thing and in having a perfect knowledge of its unity. Inas 
much as God is one, without any sharer in His essence and 
attributes, without any substitute, without any partner in His 
actions, and inasmuch as Unitarians (muwahhiddn) have 
acknowledged that He is such, their knowledge of unity is 
called unification. 

Unification is of three kinds: (i) God s unification of God, 
i.e. His knowledge of His unity ; (2) God s unification of His 
creatures, i.e. His decree that a man shall pronounce Him to 
be one, and the creation of unification in his heart ; (3) men s 
unification of God, i.e. their knowledge of the unity of God. 
Therefore, when a man knows God he can declare His unity 
and pronounce that He is one, incapable of union and separation, 
not admitting duality ; that His unity is not a number so as to 



be made two by the predication of another number ; that He is 
not finite so as to have six directions ; that He has no space, 
and that He is not in space, so as to require the predication of 
space ; that He is not an accident, so as to need a substance, 
nor a substance, which cannot exist without another like itself, 
nor a~ natural constitution (tafri\ in which motion and rest 
originate, nor a spirit so as to need a frame, nor a body so 
alTlcr t>e composed of limbs ; and that He does not become 
immanent (hall) in things, for then He must be homogeneous 
with them ; and that He is not joined to anything, for then 
that thing must be a part of Him ; and that He is free from 
all imperfections and exalted above all defects ; and that He 
has no like, so that He and His creature should make two ; and 
that He has no child whose begetting would necessarily cause 
Him to be a stock (asl) ; and that His essence and attributes 
are unchangeable j and that He is endowed with those attributes 
oTperfection which believers and Unitarians affirm, and which 
He has described Himself as possessing.; and that He is 
exempt from those attributes which heretics arbitrarily impute 
to Him ; and that He is Living, Knowing, Forgiving, Merciful, 
Willing, Powerful, Hearing, Seeing, Speaking, and Subsistent ; 
and that His knowledge is not a state (Ml) in Him, nor His 
power solidly planted (saldbaf) in Him, nor His hearing and 
sight detached (mutajarrid) in Him, nor His speech divided in 
Him ; and that He together with His attributes exists from 
eternity ; and that objects of cognition are not outside of His 
knowledge, and that entities are entirely dependent on His 
will ; and that He does that which He has willed, and wills 
that which He has known, and no creature has cognisance 
thereof; and that His decree is an absolute fact, and that 
His friends have no resource except resignation ; and that He 
is the sole predestinator of good and evil, and the only being 
that is worthy of hope or fear; and that He creates all benefit 
and injury ; and that He alone gives judgment, and His 
judgment is all wisdom ; and that no one has any possibility 
of attaining unto Him ; and that the inhabitants of Paradise 


shall behold Him ; and that assimilation (tashbiJi) is in 
admissible ; and that such terms as " confronting " and " seeing 
face to face" (muqdbalat ti muwdjahaf] cannot be applied to 
His being ; and that His saints may enjoy the contemplation 
(inushdhadaf] of Him in this world. 

Those who do not acknowledge Him to be such are guilty of 
impiety. I, All b. Uthman al-Jullabi, said at the beginning 
of this chapter that .unification consists in declaring the unity of 
a thing, and that such a declaration cannot be made without 
knowledge. The Sunnis have declared the unity of God with 
true comprehension, because, seeing a subtle work and a unique 
act, they recognized that it could not possibly exist by itself, 
and finding manifest evidences of origination (hudut/i) in every 
thing, they perceived that there must be an Agent who brought 
the universe into being the earth and heaven and sun and 
moon and land and sea and all that moves and rests and their 
knowledge and speech and life and death. For all these an 
artificer was indispensable. Accordingly, the Sunnis, rejecting 
the notion that there are two or three artificers, declared 
themselves satisfied with a single artificer who is perfect, living, 
knowing, almighty, and unpartnered. And inasmuch as an act 
requires at least one agent, and the existence of two agents for 
one act involves the dependence of one on the other, it follows 
that the Agent is unquestionably and certainly one. Here we 
are at variance with the dualists, who affirm light and darkness, 
and with the Magians, who affirm Yazdan and Ahriman, and 
with the natural philosophers (tab&i iydn}, who affirm nature 
and potentiality (qnwwat\ and with the astronomers (falakiydn\ 
who affirm the seven planets, and with the Mu tazilites, who 
affirm creators and artificers without end. I have briefly refuted 
all these vain opinions in a book, entitled Al-Ri dyat li-huquq 
Allah, 1 to which or to the works of the ancient theologians 
I must refer anyone who desires further information. Now 
I will turn to the indications which the Shaykhs have given on 
this subject. 

1 " The Observance of what is due to God." 



It is related that Junayd said : " Unification is the separation 
of the eternal from that which was originated in time," i.e. you 
must not regard the eternal as a locus of phenomena, or 
phenomena as a locus of the eternal ; and you must know 
that God is eternal and that you are phenomenal, and that 
nothing of your genus is connected with Him, and that nothing 
of His attributes is mingled in you, and that there is no 
homogeneity between the eternal and the phenomenal. This is 
contrary to the above-mentioned doctrine of those who hold the 
spirit to be eternal. When the eternal is believed to descend 
into phenomena, or phenomena to be attached to the eternal, 
no proof remains of the eternity of God and the origination of 
the universe ; and this leads to materialism (inadhhab-i daliriydri). 
In all the actions of phenomena there are proofs of unification 
and evidences of the Divine omnipotence and signs which 
establish the eternity of God, but men are too heedless to 
desire only Him or to be content only with keeping Him in 
remembrance. Husayn b. Mansur (al-Hallaj) says: "The first 
step in unification is the annihilation of separation (tafrid)" 
because separation is the pronouncement that one has become 
separated from imperfections (dfat), while unification is the 
declaration of a thing s unity : therefore in isolation (farddniyyaf] 
it is possible to affirm that which is other than God, and this 
quality may be ascribed to others besides God ; but in unity 
(wa/iddniyyaf) it is not possible to affirm other than God, and 
unity may not be ascribed to anything except Him. Accordingly, 
the first step in unification is to deny (that God has) a partner 
(sliarik) and to put admixture (misdj) aside, for admixture on 
the way (to God) is like seeking the highway with a lamp 
(ntizdj andar minhdj chun talab-i minhdj bdshad ba-siraj). And 
Husri says: "Our principles in unification are five: the removal 
of phenomenality, and the affirmation of eternity, and departure 
from familiar haunts, and separation from brethren, and forget- 
fulness of what is known and unknown." The removal of 
phenomenality consists in denying that phenomena have any 


connexion with unification or that they can possibly attain to His 
holy essence ; and the affirmation of eternity consists in being 
convinced that God always existed, as I have already explained 
in discussing the saying of Junayd ; and departure from familiar 
haunts means, for the novice, departure from the habitual 
pleasures of the lower soul and the forms of this world, and for 
the adept, departure from lofty stations and glorious states and 
exalted miracles (kardmdf) ; and separation from brethren 
means turning away from the society of mankind and turning 
towards the society of God, since any thought of other than 
God is a veil and an imperfection, and the more a man s 
thoughts are associated with other than God the more is he 
veiled from God, because it is universally agreed that unification 
is the concentration of thoughts (jam -z Jiiniam\ whereas to 
be content with other than God is a sign of dispersion of 
thought (tafriqa-i himmaf) ; and forgetfulness of a thing which 
is known or unknown means the unification of that thing, 
for unification denies whatever the knowledge of mankind 
affirms about it ; and whatever their ignorance affirms about 
it is merely contrary to their knowledge, for ignorance is not 
unification, and knowledge of the reality of unification cannot 
be attained without denying the personal initiative (tasarruf) 
in which knowledge and ignorance consist. A certain Shaykh 
relates : " While Husri was speaking to an audience, I fell 
asleep and dreamed that two angels came down from Heaven 
and listened for some time to his discourse. Then one said 
to the other, What this man says is the theory (^ilni) of 
unification, not unification itself ( ayn)! When I awoke he 
was explaining unification. He looked at me and said, 
O So-and-so, it is impossible to speak of unification except 
theoretically." 5 It is related that Junayd said: "Unification 
is this, that one should be a figure (shakhs) in the hands of 
God, a figure over which His decrees pass according as He 
in His omnipotence determines, and that one should be sunk 
in the seas of His unity, self-annihilated and dead alike to 
the call of mankind to him and his answer to them, absorbed 


by the reality of the Divine unity in true proximity, and lost 

to sense and action, because God fulfils in him what He 

hath willed of him, namely, that his last state should become 

his first state, and that he should be as he was before he 

existed." All this means that the Unitarian in the will of 

God has no more a will of his own, and in the unity of God 

no regard to himself, so that he becomes like an atom as he 

was in the eternal past when the covenant of unification was 

made, and God answered the question which He Himself 

had asked, and that atom was only the object of His speech. 1 

Mankind have no joy in such a one that they should call 

him to anything, and he has no friendship with anyone 

that he should respond to their call. This saying indicates 

the annihilation of human attributes and perfect resignation 

to God in the state when a man is overpowered by the 

revelation of His majesty, so that he becomes a passive 

instrument and a subtle substance that feels nothing, and his 

body is a repository for the mysteries of God, to whom his 

speech and actions are attributed ; but, unconscious of all as 

he is, he remains subject to the ordinances of the religious 

law, to the end that the proof of God may be established. 

Such was the Apostle when on the night of the Ascension 

he was borne to the station of proximity ; he desired that 

his body should be destroyed and his personality be dissolved, 

but God s purpose was to establish His proof. He bade the 

Apostle remain in the state that he was in ; whereupon he 

gained strength and displayed the existence of God from out 

of his own non-existence and said, " I am not as one of you. 

Verily, I pass the night with my Lord, and he gives me food 

and drink"; and he also said, "I am with God in a state in 

which none of the cherubim nor any prophet is capable of 

being contained with me." It is related that Sahl b. Abdallah 

said : " Unification is this, that you should recognize that the 

essence of God is endowed with knowledge, that it is not 

comprehensible nor visible to the eye in this world, but that 

1 Kor. vii, 171. 


it exists in the reality of faith, infinite, incomprehensible, 
non-incarnate ; and that He will be seen in the next world, 
outwardly and inwardly in His kingdom and His power ; 
and that mankind are veiled from knowledge of the ultimate 
nature of His essence ; and that their hearts know Him, but 
their intellects cannot reach unto Him ; and that believers 
shall behold Him with their (spiritual) eyes, without compre 
hending His infinity." This saying includes all the principles 
of unification. And Junayd said : " The noblest saying con 
cerning unification is that of Abu Bakr : Glory to God, who 
has not vouchsafed to His creatures any means of attaining 
unto knowledge of Him except through impotence to attain 
unto knowledge of Him. " Many have mistaken the meaning 
of these words of Abu Bakr and suppose that impotence to 
attain to gnosis is the same thing as agnosticism. This is 
absurd, because impotence refers only to an existing state, 
not to a state that is non-existent For example, a dead 
man is not incapable of life, but he cannot be alive while he 
is dead ; and a blind man is not incapable of seeing, but he 
cannot see while he is blind. Therefore, a gnostic is not 
incapable of gnosis so long as gnosis is existent, for in that 
case his gnosis resembles intuition. The saying of Abu Bakr 
may be brought into connexion with the doctrine of Abu 
Sahl Su luki and Master Abu All Daqqaq, who assert that 
gnosis is acquired in the first instance, but finally becomes 
intuitive. The possessor of intuitive knowledge is compelled 
and incapable of putting it away or drawing it to himself. 
Hence, according to what Abu Bakr says, unification is the 
act of God in the heart of His creature. Shibli says : 
" Unification veils the Unitarian from the beauty of Oneness," 
because unification is said to be the act of Man, and an act 
of Man does not cause the revelation of God, and in the 
reality of revelation that which does not cause revelation is 
a veil. Man with all his attributes is other than God, for if 
his attributes are accounted Divine, then he himself must be 
accounted Divine, and then Unitarian, unification, and the 


One become, all three, causes of the existence of one another ; 
and this is precisely the Christian Trinity. If any attribute 
prevents the seeker of God from annihilating himself in 
unification, he is still veiled by that attribute, and while he 
is veiled he is not a Unitarian, for all except God is vanity. 
This is the interpretation of " There is no god but God ". l 

The Shaykhs have discussed at large the terms by which 
unification is denoted. Some say that it is an annihilation 
that cannot properly be attained unless the attributes subsist, 
while others say that it has no attribute whatever except 
annihilation. The analogy of union and separation (jam n 
tafriqa] must be applied to this question in order that it may 
be understood. I, All b. Uthman al-Jullabi, declare that 
unification is a mystery revealed by God to His servants, 
and that it cannot be expressed in language at all, much less 
in high-sounding phrases. The explanatory terms and those 
who use them are other than God, and to affirm what is 
other than God in unification is to affirm polytheism. 

1 Here the author cites an anecdote of Ibrahim al-Khawwas and al-Hallaj which 
has been related above. See p. 205. 


FAITH (imdii). 

The Apostle said: "Faith is belief in God and His angels 
and His (revealed) books." Etymologically, faith (imdti) 
means verification (tasdiq). Concerning its principles in their 
application to the religious law there is great discussion and 
controversy. The Mu tazilites hold that faith includes all acts 
of devotion, theoretical as well as practical : hence they say 
that sin puts a man outside the pale of faith. The Kharijites, 
who call a man an infidel because he commits a sin, are of 
the same opinion. Some declare that faith is simply a verbal 
profession, while others say it is only knowledge of God, and 
a party of Sunni scholastics assert that it is mere verification. 
I have written a separate work explaining this subject, but 
my present purpose is to establish what the Sufi Shaykhs 
believe. They are divided on this question in the same way 
as the lawyers of the two opposite sects. Some of them, 
e.g. Fudayl b. lyad and Bishr Hafi and Khayr al-Nassaj and 
Sumnun al-Muhibb and Abu Hamza of Baghdad and Muhammad 
Jurayri and a great number of others, hold that faith is verbal 
profession and verification and practice ; but others, e.g. Ibrahim 
b. Adham and Dhu 1-Nun the Egyptian and Abu Yazi d of 
Bistam and Abu Sulayman Daranf and Harith Muhasibi and 
Junayd and Sahl b. Abdallah of Tustar and Shaqfq of Balkh 
and Hatim Asamm and Muhammad b. al-Fadl of Balkh and 
a number besides, Jiold that faith is verbal profession and 
verification. Some lawyers, i.e. Malik and Shafi i and Ahmad 
b. Hanbal, maintain the former view, while the latter opinion 
is supported by Abu Hani fa and Husayn b. Fadl of Balkh 

FAITH. 287 

and the followers of Abu Ham fa, such as Muhammad b. al- 
Hasan, Dawud Ta i, and Abu Yusuf. The difference between 
them is entirely one of expression and is devoid of substance, 
as I will now briefly explain, in order that no one may be 
charged with contradicting the principle of faith because he 
takes the one view or the other in this dispute. 


You must know that the orthodox Moslems and the Sufis 
are agreed that faith has a principle (as!) and a derivative 
(far ( ), the principle being verification in the heart, and the 
derivative being observance of the (Divine) command. Now 
the Arabs commonly and customarily transfer the name of 
\x~ a principle to a derivative by way of metaphor, e.g. they call 
the light of the sun "the sun". In this sense the former of 
the two parties mentioned above apply the name of faith to 
that obedience (td af) by which alone a man is made secure 
from future punishment. Mere verification (i.e. belief), without 
performance of the Divine commands, does not involve security. 
Therefore, since security is in proportion to obedience, and 
obedience together \vith_jverification and verbal profession is 
the cause of security, they bestowed on obedience the name 
of faith. The otherjparty, however, asserted that gnosis, not 
obedience, is the cause of security. Obedience, they said, is 
of no avail without gnosis, whereas one who has gnosis but 
lacks obedience will be saved at the last, although it depends 
on the will of God whether he shall be pardoned by Divine 
grace or through the intercession of the Apostle, or whether 
he shall be punished according to the measure of his sin and 
then be delivered from Hell and transported to Paradise. 
Therefore, since those who have gnosis, although they are 
sinners, by reason of their gnosis do not remain for ever in 
Hell, while those who have only works without gnosis do not 
enter Paradise, it follows that here obedience is not the cause 
of security. The Apostle said : " None of you shall be saved 
by his works." Hence in reality, without any controversy 


among Moslems, faith is gnosis and acknowledgment and 
acceptance of works. Whoever knows God knows Him by 
one of His attributes, and the most elect of His attributes 
are of three kinds : those connected with His beauty (jamdfy 
and with His majesty (jaldl) and with His perfection (kamdf). 
His perfection is not attainable except by those whose per 
fection is established and whose imperfection is banished. 
There remain beauty and majesty. Those whose evidence in 
gnosis is the beauty of God are always longing for vision, and 
those whose evidence is His majesty are always abhorring their 
own attributes and their hearts are stricken with awe. Now 
longing is an effect of love, and so is abhorrence of human 
attributes, because the lifting of the veil of human attributes 
is the very essence of love. Therefore faith and gnosis are 
love, and obedience is a sign of love. Whoever denies this 
neglects the command of God and knows nothing of gnosis. 
This evil is manifest among the aspirants to Sufiism at the 
present day. Some heretics, seeing their excellence and per 
suaded of their high degree, imitate them and say : "Trouble 
only lasts while you do not know God : as soon as you know 
Him, all the labour of obedience is removed from the body." 
But they are wrong. I reply that when you know Him, the 
heart is filled with longing and His command is held in greater 
veneration than before. I admit that a pious man may reach 
a point where he is relieved from the irksomeness of obedience 
through the increase of Divine aid (tawfiq], so that he performs 
without trouble what is troublesome to others ; but this result 
cannot be achieved without a longing that produces violent 
agitation. Some, again, say that faith comes entirely from 
God, while others say that it springs entirely from Man. This 
has long been a matter of controversy among the people in 
Transoxania. To assert that faith comes entirely from God 
is sheer compulsion (jabr\ because Man must then have no 
choice ; and to assert that it springs entirely from Man is pure 
free-will, for Man does not know God except through the 
knowledge that God gives him. The doctrine of unification 

FAITH. 289 

is less than compulsion and more than free-will. Similarly, 
faith is really the act of Man joined to the guidance of God, 
as God hath said : " Whomsoever God wishes to lead aright, 
He will open his breast to receive Islam ; and whomsoever He 
wishes to lead astray, He will make his breast strait and 
narrow" (Kor. vi, 125). On, this principle, inclination to believe 
(oirawzsh) is the guidance of God, while belief {girawtdari) is 
the act of Man. The signs of belief are these : in the heart, 
holding firmly to unification ; in the eye, refraining from 
forbidden sights and looking needfully on evidences ; in the 
ear, listening to His word ; in the belly, being empty of what 
is unlawful ; in the tongue, veracity. Hence those persons 
(who assert that faith comes entirely from God) maintain that 
gnosis and faith may increase and diminish, which is generally 
admitted to be false, for if it were true, then the object of 
gnosis must also be liable to increase and diminution. 
Accordingly, the increase and diminution must be in the 
derivative, which is the act ; and it is generally agreed that 
obedience may diminish and increase. This does not please 
the anthropomorphists (Jiashwiydn) who imitate the two parties 
mentioned above, for some of them hold that obedience is an 
element of faith, while others declare that faith is a verbal 
profession and nothing else. Both these doctrines are unjust. 

In short, jaith is really the absorption of all human attributes 
in the search of G9d. This must be unanimously acknowledged 
by all believers. The might of gnosis overwhelms the attributes 
qfjignosticism, and where faith exists agnosticism is banished, 
for, as it is said : " A lamp is of no use when the dawn 
rises."_ God hath said : " Kings, when they enter a city, ruin 
it" (Kor. xxvii, 34)! When gnosis is established in the heart 
of" the gnostic, the empire of doubt and scepticism and 
agnosticism is utterly destroyed, and the sovereignty of gnosis 
subdues his senses and passions so that in all his looks and acts 
and words he remains within the circle of its authority. I have 
read that when Ibrahim Khawwas was asked concerning the 
reality of faith, he replied : " I have no answer to this question 



just now, because whatever I say is a mere expression, and it 
behoves me to answer by my actions ; but I am setting out for 
Mecca : do thou accompany me that thou mayest be answered." 
The narrator continues : " I consented. As we journeyed 
through the desert, every day two loaves and two cups of 
water appeared. He gave one to me and took the other for 
himself. One day an old man rode up to us and dismounted 
and conversed with Ibrahim for a while ; then he left us. 
I asked Ibrahim to tell me who he was. He replied : This is 
the answer to thy question. How so ? I asked. He said : 
This was Khidr, who begged me to let him accompany me, 
but I refused, for I feared that in his company I might put 
confidence in him instead of in God, and then my trust in God 
(tawakkul) would have been vitiated. Real faith is trust in 
God. " And Muhammad b. Khafif says : " Faith is the belief 
of the heart in that knowledge \vhich comes from the Unseen," 
because faith is in that which is hidden, and it can be attained 
only through Divine strengthening of one s certainty, which is 
the result of knowledge bestowed by God. 

Now I will come to matters of practice and will explain their 




After faith, the first thing incumbent on everyone is puri 
fication (tahdraf) and the performance of prayer, i.e. to cleanse 
the body from filth and pollution, and to wash the three 
members, 1 and to wipe the head with water as the law 
prescribes, or to use sand in the absence of water or in severe 
illness. Purification is of two kinds : outward and inward. 
Thus prayer requires purification of the body, and gnosis requires 
purification of the heart. As, in the former case, the water 
must be clean, so in the latter case unification must be pure 
and belief undefiled. The Sufis are always engaged in puri 
fication outwardly and in unification inwardly. The Apostle 
said to one of his Companions : " Be constant in ablution, 
that thy two guardian angels may love thee," and God hath 
said : " God loves those who often repent and those who purify 
themselves" (Kor. ii, 222). And the Apostle used to say in 
his invocations : " O God, purify my heart from hypocrisy." 
Even consciousness of the miraculous grace (kardmdf) vouch 
safed to him he regarded as an affirmation of other than God, 
for in unification it is hypocrisy (nifdq] to affirm other than 
God. So long as a disciple s eye is obscured by a single 
atom of the miracles of the Shaykhs, from the standpoint of 
perfection that atom is a potential veil (between him and God). 
Hence Abu Yazid said : " The hypocrisy of gnostics is better 
than the sincerity of disciples," i.e. that which is a " station " 
(inaqdrn) to the novice is a veil to the adept. The novice 
desires to gain miracles, but the adept desires to gain the 

1 The face, hands, and feet. 


Giver of miracles. In short, the affirmation of miracles, or of 
anything that involves the sight of other than God, appears 
hypocrisy to the people of the Truth (the Sufis). Accordingly, 
what is noxious to the friends of God is a means of deliverance 
for all sinners, and what is noxious to sinners is a means of 
salvation for all infidels, because, if infidels knew, as sinners 
know, that their sins are displeasing to God, they would all be 
saved from infidelity ; and if sinners knew, as the friends of God 
know, that all their actions are defective, they would all be 
saved from sin and purged of contamination. Therefore, 
outward and inward purification must go together ; e.g., when 
a man washes his hands he must wash his heart clean of 
world liness, and when he puts water in his mouth he must 
purify his mouth from the mention of other than God, and 
when he washes his face he must turn away from all familiar 
objects and turn towards God, and when he wipes his head 
he must resign his affairs to God, and when he washes his feet 
he must not form the intention of taking his stand on anything 
except according to the command of God. Thus he will be 
doubly purified. In all religious ordinances the external is 
combined with the internal ; e.g. in faith, the tongue s profession 
with the heart s belief. The method of spiritual purification is 
to reflect and meditate on the evil of this world and to perceive 
that it is false and fleeting, and to make the heart empty of it. 
This result can be attained only by much self-mortification 
(inujdhadat\ and the most important act of mortification is to 
observe the external rules of discipline (dddb-i zdhir) assiduously 
in all circumstances. It is related that Ibrahim Khawwas said : 
<( I desire God to give me an everlasting life in this world, in 
order that, while mankind are engrossed in the pleasures of the 
world and forget God, I may observe the rules of religion 
amidst the affliction of the world and remember God." And 
it is related that Abu Tahir Harami lived forty years at Mecca, 
and went outside of the sacred territory whenever he purified 
himself, because he would not pour the water which he had 
used for that purpose on ground that God had called His. 


When Ibrahim Khawwas was ill of dysentery in the con 
gregational mosque at Rayy, he performed sixty complete 
ablutions in the course of a day and night, and he died in the 
water. Abu AH Rudbari was for some time afflicted with 
distracting thoughts (waswds) in purification. " One day," he 
said, " I went into the sea at dawn and stayed there till sunrise. 
During that interval my mind was troubled. I cried out : 
O God, restore me to spiritual health ! A voice answered 
from the sea: Health consists in knowledge." It is related 
that when Sufyan Thavvri was dying, he purified himself sixty 
times for one prayer and said : " I shall at least be clean when 
I leave this world." They relate of Shibli that one day he 
purified himself with the intention of entering the mosque. He 
heard a voice cry : " Thou hast washed thy outward self, but 
where is thy inward purity ? " He turned back and gave away 
all that he possessed, and during a year he put on no more 
clothes than were necessary for prayer. Then he came to 
Junayd, who said to him : " O Abu Bakr, that was a very 
beneficial purification which you have performed ; may God 
always keep you purified ! " After that, Shibli engaged in 
continual purification. When he was dying and could no 
longer purify himself, he made a sign to one of his disciples 
that he should purify him. The disciple did so, but forgot to 
let the water flow through his beard (takhlil-i mahdsin). Shibli 
was unable to speak. He seized the disciple s hand and 
pointed to his beard, whereupon the rite was duly performed. 
And it is also related of him that he said : " Whenever I have 
neglected any rule of purification, some vain conceit has always 
arisen in my heart." And Abu Yazi d said : " Whenever 
a thought of this world occurs to my mind, I perform a puri 
fication (tahdrati) ; and whenever a thought of the next world 
occurs to me, I perform a complete ablution (ghuslt}? because 
this world is non-eternal (jnuhdath\ and the result of thinking 
of it is legal impurity (hadath], whereas the next world is the 
place of absence and repose (ghaybat u dram*), and the result 
of thinking of it is pollution (jandbaf} : hence legal impurity 


involves purification and pollution involves total ablution. One 
day Shibli purified himself. When he came to the door of the 
mosque a voice whispered in his heart : " Art thou so pure that 
thou enterest My house with this boldness ? " He turned back, 
but the voice asked : " Dost thou turn back from My door ? 
Whither wilt thou go?" He uttered a loud cry. The voice 
said: "Dost thou revile me?" He stood silent. The voice 
said : " Dost thou pretend to endure My affliction ? " Shibli 
exclaimed: "O God, I implore Thee to help me against 

The Sufi Shaykhs have fully discussed the true meaning of 
purification, and have commanded their disciples not to cease 
from purifying themselves both outwardly and inwardly. He 
who would serve God must purify himself outwardly with 
water, and he who would come nigh unto God must purify 
himself inwardly with repentance. Now I will explain the 
principles of repentance (tawbat) and its corollaries. 

Chapter concerning Repentance and its Corollaries. 
You must know that repentance (tawbat) is the first station 
of pilgrims on the way to the Truth, just as purification 
(tahdrat) is the first step of those who desire to serve God. 
Hence God hath said : " believers, repent unto God with 
a sincere repentance" (Kor. Ixvi, 8). And the Apostle said, 
" There is nothing that God loves more than a youth who 
repents " ; and he also said, " He who repents of sin is even 
as one who has no sin " ; then he added, " When God loves 
a man, sin shall not hurt him," i.e. he will not become an 
infidel on account of sin, and his faith will not be impaired. 
Etymologically tawbat means " return ", and tawbat really 
involves the turning back from what God has forbidden 
through fear of what He has commanded. The Apostle said : 
" Penitence is the act of returning " (al-nadam al-tawbaf). 
This saying comprises three things which are involved in 
tawbat, namely, (i) remorse for disobedience, (2) immediate 
abandonment of sin, and (3) determination not to sin again. 


As repentance (tawbaf) involves these three conditions, so 
contrition (jiaddmaf) may be due to three causes: (i) fear of 
Divine chastisement and sorrow for evil actions, (2) desire 
of Divine favour and certainty that it cannot be gained by 
evil conduct and disobedience, (3) shame before God. In the 
first case the penitent is td ib, in the second case he is munib, 
in the third case he is awwdb. Similarly, tawbat has three 
stations, viz., tawbat, through fear of Divine punishment ; 
indbat) through desire of Divine reward ; and awbat, for the 
sake of keeping the Divine command. Taivbat is the station 
of the mass of believers, and implies repentance from great 
sins (kabiraf) ; x and indbat is the station of the saints and 
favourites of God (awliyd u muqarrabdri) ; 2 and awbat is the 
station of the prophets and apostles. 3 Tawbat is to return 
from great sins to obedience ; indbat is to return from minor 
sins to love; and awbat is to return from one s self to God. 
Repentance (tawbaf} has its origin in the stern prohibitions 
of God and in the heart s being aroused from the slumber of 
heedlessness. When a man considers his evil conduct and 
abominable deeds he seeks deliverance therefrom, and God 
makes it easy for him to repent and leads him back to the 
sweetness of obedience. According to the opinion of orthodox 
Moslems and all the Sufi Shaykhs, a man who has repented 
of one sin may continue to commit other sins and nevertheless 
receive Divine recompense for having abstained from that one 
sin ; and it may be that through the blessing of that recompense 
he will abstain from other sins. But the Bahshami 4 sect of the 
Mu tazilites hold that no one can properly be called repentant 
unless he avoids all great sins, a doctrine which is absurd, 
because a man is not punished for the sins that he does not 
commit, but if he renounces a certain kind of sin he has no 
fear of being punished for sins of that particular kind : 
consequently, he is repentant. Similarly, if he performs some 

1 Cf. Kor. Ixvi, 8. 2 Cf. Kor. 1, 32. 3 Cf . Kor> xxxviii) 

4 Text, yUAfS. See Shahristani, Haarbrucker s translation, i, 80. 


religious duties and neglects others, he will be rewarded for 
those which he performed and will be punished for those 
which he neglected. Moreover, if anyone should have repented 
of a sin which he has not the means of committing at the 
moment, he is repentant, because through that past repentance 
he has gained contrition (naddmat\ which is a fundamental 
part of repentance (tawbaf), and at the moment he has turned 
his back on that kind of sin and is resolved not to commit 
it again, even though he should have the power and means 
of doing so at some future time. As regards the nature and 
property of repentance, the Sufi Shaykhs hold diverse opinions. 
Sahl b. Abdallah (al-Tustari) and others believe that repentance 
consists in not forgetting your sins, but always regretting them, 
so that, although you have many good works to your credit, 
you will not be pleased with yourself on that account ; since 
remorse for an evil action is superior to good works, and one 
who never forgets his sins will never become conceited. 
Junayd and others take the opposite view, that repentance 
consists in forgetting the sin. They argue that the penitent 
is a lover of God, and the lover of God is in contemplation 
of God, and in contemplation it is wrong to remember sin, 
for remembrance of sin is a veil between God and those who 
contemplate Him. This controversy goes back to the difference 
of opinion concerning mortification (nmjdhadai) and con 
templation (mushdhadat\ which .has been discussed in my 
account of the doctrine of the Sahlis. Those who hold the 
penitent to be self-dependent regard his forgetfulness of sin 
as heedlessness, while those who hold that he is dependent 
on God deem his remembrance of sin to be polytheism. 
Moses, while his attributes were subsistent, said, "/ repent 
towards Thee" (Kor. vii, 140), but the Apostle, while his 
attributes were annihilated, said, "I cannot tell Thy praise." 
Inasmuch as it behoves the penitent not to remember his 
own selfhood, how should he remember his sin? Indeed, 
remembrance of sin is a sin, for sin is an occasion of turning 
away from God, and so is the remembrance of it or the 


forgetting of it, since both remembrance and forgetfulness 
are connected with one s self. Junayd says: "I have read 
many books, but I have never found anything so instructive 
as this verse : 

1 Id/id qultu md adhnabtu qdlat mujibat an 
haydtuka dhanb Id yuqdsu bilii dhanbu" 

When I say: What is my sin? she says in reply: 
Thy existence is a sin with which no other sin can be 
compared. " 

In short, repentance is a Divine strengthening and sin is a 
corporeal act : when contrition (naddmaf) enters the heart the 
body has no means of expelling it ; and as in the beginning no 
human act can expel repentance, so in the end no human act 
can maintain it. God hath said : " And He turned (taba) unto 
Jiiui (Adam), for He is tJie Disposer towards repentance (al- 
tawwab), the Merciful" (Kor. ii, 35). The Koran contains many 
texts to the same effect, which are too well known to require 

Repentance is of three kinds: (i) from what is wrong to 
what is right, (2) from what is right to what is more right, 
(3) from selfhood to God. The first kind is the repentance of 
ordinary men ; the second kind is the repentance of the elect ; 
and the third kind of repentance belongs to the degree of Divine 
love (inahabbaf]. As regards the elect, it is impossible that 
they should repent of sin. Do not you perceive that all the 
world feel regret for having lost the vision of God ? Moses 
desired that vision and repented (Kor. vii, 140), because he 
asked for it with his own volition (ikhtiydr), for in love personal 
volition is a taint. The people thought he had renounced the 
vision of God, but what he really renounced was his personal 
volition. As regards those who love God, they repent not only 
of the imperfection of a station below the station to which they 
have attained, but also of being conscious of any " station " or 
" state " whatsoever. 



Repentance does not necessarily continue after the resolution 
not to return to sin has been duly made. A penitent who in 
those circumstances returns to sin has in principle earned the 
Divine reward for repentance. Many novices of this sect (the 
Sufi s) have repented and gone back to wickedness and then 
once more, in consequence of an admonition, have returned to 
God. A certain Shaykh relates that he repented seventy times 
and went back to sin on every occasion, until at the seventy- 
first time he became steadfast. And Abu Amr b. Nujayd l 
tells the following story : " As a novice, I repented in the 
assembly-room of Abu Uthman Hiri and persevered in my 
repentance for some while. Then I fell into sin and left the 
society of that spiritual director, and whenever I saw him from 
afar my remorse caused me to flee from his sight. One day 
I met him unexpectedly. He said to me : ( O son, do not 
associate with your enemies unless you are sinless (ma l s2ini), 
for an enemy will see your faults and rejoice. If you must sin, 
come .to us, that we may bear your affliction. On hearing 
his words, I felt surfeited with sin and my repentance was 
established." A certain man, having repented of sin, returned 
to it and then repented once more. " How will it be," he said, 
"if I now turn to God?" A heavenly voice answered, saying : 
" Thou didst obey Me and I recompensed thee, then thou didst 
abandon Me and I showed indulgence towards thee ; and if 
thou wilt return to Me, I will receive thee." 


Dhu l-Niin the Egyptian says : " Ordinary men repent of 
their sins, but the elect repent of their heedlessness," because 
ordinary men shall be questioned concerning their outward 
behaviour, but the elect shall be questioned concerning the real 
nature of their conduct. Heedlessness, which to ordinary men 
is a pleasure, is a veil to the elect. Abu Hafs Haddad says : 

1 Nafahdt, No. 281. 


" Man has no part in repentance, because repentance is from 
God to Man, not from Man to God." According to this 
saying, repentance is not acquired by Man, but is one of 
God s gifts, a doctrine which is closely akin to that of Junayd. 
Abu 1-Hasan Bushanji says: "When you feel no delight in 
remembering a sin, that is repentance," because the recollection 
of a sin is accompanied either by regret or by desire : one who 
regrets that he has committed a sin is repentant, whereas one 
who desires to commit a sin is a sinner. The actual sin is not 
so evil as the desire of it, for the act is momentary, but the 
desire is perpetual. Dhu 1-Nun the Egyptian says: "There 
are two kinds of repentance, the repentance of return (tawbat 
al-indbaf) and the repentance of shame (tawbat al-istihyd) : 
the former is repentance through fear of Divine punishment, 
the latter is repentance through shame of Divine clemency." 
The repentance of fear is caused by revelation of God s majesty, 
while the repentance of shame is caused by vision of God s 
beauty. Those who feel shame are intoxicated, and those who 
feel fear are sober. 



PRAYER (al-saldf). 

Etymologically, prayer (namdz) means remembrance (of God) 
and submissiveness (dhikr u inqiydd), but in the correct usage 
of lawyers the term is specially applied to the five prayers 
which God has ordered to be performed at five different times, 
and which involve certain preliminary conditions, viz. : (i) puri 
fication outwardly from filth and inwardly from lust ; (2) that 
one s outward garment should be clean and one s inner garment 
undefiled by anything unlawful ; (3) that the place where one 
purifies one s self should be outwardly free from contamination 
and inwardly free from corruptness and sin ; (4) turning towards 
the qibla, the outward qibla being the Ka ba and the inward 
qibla being the Throne of God, by which is meant the mystery 
of Divine contemplation ; (5) standing outwardly in the state of 
power (qudraf) and inwardly in the garden of proximity to 
God (qurbaf) ; (6) sincere intention to approach unto God ; 
(7) saying "Allah akbar" in the station of awe and annihilation, 
and standing in the abode of union, and reciting the Koran 
distinctly and reverently, and bowing the head with humility, 
and prostrating one s self with abasement, and making the 
profession of faith with concentration, and saluting with 
annihilation of one s attributes. It is recorded in the Traditions 
that when the Apostle prayed, there was heard within him 
a sound like the boiling of a kettle. And when All was about 
to pray, his hair stood on end and he trembled and said : " The 
hour has come to fulfil a trust which the heavens and the 
earth were unable to bear." 1 

1 Here the author cites a description given by Hatim al-Asamm of his manner 
of praying. 



Prayer is a term in which novices find the whole way to God, 
from beginning to end, and in which their stations (maqdmdt) - 
are revealed. Thus, fo^__novk^s, purification takes the place of 
repentance, and dependence on a spiritual director takes the 
place of ascertaining the qibla, and standing in prayer takes * 
the place of self-mortification, and reciting the Koran takes the 
place of inward meditation (dhikr\ and bowing the head takes 
the place of humility, and prostration takes the place of self- 
knowledge, and profession of faith takes the place of intimacy 
(uns), and salutation takes the place of detachment from the 
world and escape from the bondage of " stations ". Hence, when 
the Apostle became divested of all feelings of delight (maskdrib) 
in complete bewilderment, he used to say : " O Bilal, comfort us 
by the call to prayer." The Sufi Shaykhs have discussed this 
matter and each of them occupies a position of his own. Some 
hold that prayer is a means of obtaining "presence" with God 
(kudiir), and others regard it as a means of obtaining " absence " 
(ghaybat) ; some who have been "absent" become "present" in 
prayer, while others who have been " present " become " absent ". 
Similarly, in the next world where God is seen, some, who are 
" absent ", when they see God shall become " present ", and vice 
versa. I, All b. Uthman al-Jullabi, assert that prayer is 
a Divine command and is not a means of obtaining either 
"presence" or "absence", because a Divine command is not 
a means to anything. The cause of " presence " is " presence " 
itself, and the cause of " absence " is " absence " itself. If prayer 
were the cause or means of " presence ", it could be performed 
only by one who was " present ", and if it were the cause of 
"absence", one who was " absent" would necessarily become 
" present " by neglecting to perform it. But inasmuch as it must 
be performed by all, whether they be " present " or " absent ", 
prayer is sovereign in its essence and independent. t, 

Prayer is mostly performed and prescribed by those who are 
engaged in self-mortification or who have attained to steadfast- \ 
ness (istiqdmaf]. Thus the Shaykhs order their disciples to 


perform four hundred bowings in prayer during a day and 
night, that their bodies may be habituated to devotion ; and the 
steadfast likewise perform many prayers in thanksgiving for 
the favour which God has bestowed upon them. As regards 
those who possess "states" (arbdb-i ahwdl), their prayers, in 
the perfection of ecstasy, correspond to the " station " of union, 
so that through their prayers they become united ; or again, 
when ecstasy is withdrawn, their prayers correspond to the 
"station " of separation, so that thereby they become separated. 
The former, who are united in their prayers, pray by day and 
night and add supererogatory prayers to those which are 
incumbent on them, but the latter, who are separated, perform 
no more prayers than they need. The Apostle said : " In 
prayer lies my delight," because prayer is a source of joy to the 
steadfast. When the Apostle was brought nigh unto God on 
the night of the Ascension, and his soul was loosed from the 
fetters of phenomenal being, and his spirit lost consciousness of 
all degrees and stations, and his natural powers were annihilated, 
he said, not of his own will, but inspired by longing : " O God, 
do not transport me to yonder world of affliction ! Do not 
throw me under the sway of nature and passion!" God 
answered : " It is My decree that thou shalt return to the world 
for the sake of establishing the religious law, in order that 
I may give thee there what I have given thee here." When he 
returned to this world, he used to say as often as he felt 
a longing for that exalted station : " O Bilal, comfort us by the 
caTPtb prayer ! " Thus to him every time of prayer was an 
Ascension and a new nearness to God. Sahl b. Abdallah says : 
" It is a sign of a man s sincerity that he has an attendant angel 
who urges him to pray when the hour of prayer is come, and 
wakes him if he be asleep." This mark (of sincerity) was 
apparent in Sahl himself, for although he had become palsied 
in his old age he used to recover the use of his limbs whenever 
the hour of prayer arrived ; and after having performed his 
prayers he was unable to move from his place. One of the 
Shaykhs says : " Four things are necessary to him who prays : 


annihilation of the lower soul (nafs\ loss of the natural powers, 
purity of the inmost heart, and perfect contemplation." Annihi 
lation of the lower soul is to be attained only by concentration 
oTThought ; loss of the natural powers only by affirmation of 
the Divine majesty, which involves the destruction of all that is 
other than God ; purity of the inmost heart only by love ; and 
perfect contemplation only by purity of the inmost heart. It is 
related that Husayn b. Mansur (al-Hallaj) used to lay upon 
himself the obligation of performing four hundred bowings of 
prayer in a day and a night. On being asked why he took so 
much trouble in the high degree which he enjoyed, he answered : 
" Pain and pleasure indicate your feelings, but those whose 
attributes are annihilated feel no effect either of pleasure or of 
pain. Beware lest you call remissness maturity and desire of 
the world search for God." A certain man relates : " I was 
praying behind Dhu 1-Nun. When he began to pronounce the 
takbtr^ he cried Allah akbar* and fell in a swoon like a lifeless 
body." Junayd, after he had grown old, did not omit any item 
of the litanies (awrdd) of his youth. When he was urged to 
refrain from some of these supererogatory acts of devotion to 
which his strength was unequal, he replied that he could not 
abandon at the last those exercises which had been the means 
of his acquiring spiritual welfare at the first. It is well known 
that the angels are ceaselessly engaged in worship, because they 
are spiritual and have no lower soul (nafs). The lower soul 
deters men from obedience, and the more it is subdued the 
more easy does the performance of worship become ; and when 
it is entirely annihilated, worship becomes the food and drink of 
Man, even as it is the food and drink of the angels. Abdallah 
b. Mubarak says : " In my boyhood I remember seeing a female 
ascetic who was bitten by a scorpion in forty places while she 
was praying, but no change of expression was visible in her 
countenance. When she had finished, I said : O mother, why 
didst not thou fling the scorpion away from thee ? She 
answered : Ignorant boy ! dost thou deem it right that while 
I am engaged in God s business I should attend to my own ? " 


Abu 1-Khayr Aqta l had a gangrene in his foot. The 
physicians declared that his foot must be amputated, but he 
would not allow this to be done. His disciples said: "Cut it 
off while he is praying, for at that time he is unconscious." 
The physicians acted on this advice. When Abu 1-Khayr 
finished his prayers he found that his foot had been amputated. 2 

Some Sufis perform obligatory acts of devotion openly, but 
conceal those which are supererogatory in order that they may 
escape from ostentation (riyd). Anyone (they say) who desires 
that others should take notice of his religious practices becomes 
a hypocrite ; and if he says that although other people see 
his devotions he himself is unconscious of them, that too is 
hypocrisy. Other Sufis, however, exhibit both their obligatory 
and supererogatory acts of devotion, on the ground that 
ostentation is unreal and piety real : therefore, it is absurd to 
hide reality for the sake of unreality. " Do not let any thought 
of ostentation (they say) enter your heart, and worship God 
wherever you will." The Shaykhs have observed the true 
spirit of the rules of devotional practice, and have enjoined 
their disciples to do the same. One of them says : " I travelled 
for forty years, and during that time I did not miss a single 
public service of prayer, but was in some town every Friday." 

The corollaries of prayer belong to the stations of love, of 
which I will now set forth the principles in full. 

Chapter concerning Love and matters connected therewith. 

God hath said, " believers, whosoever among you apostatize 
from their religion, God will assuredly bring in their stead 
a people whom He will love and who ^vill love Him " (Kor. v, 59) ; 
and He hath also said, " Some men take idols beside God and 
love them as they love God, but the believers love God best" 
(Kor. ii, 1 60). And the Apostle said : " I heard Gabriel say 

1 Nafahat, No. 259. 

2 Here follows a story, already related in the notice of Abu Bakr (p. 70), 
concerning the different manner in which Abu Bakr and Umar recited the Koran 
when they performed their prayers. 

LOVE. 305 

that God said, ( Whoever despises any of My friends has 
declared war against Me. I do not hesitate in anything as 
I hesitate to seize the soul of My faithful servant who dislikes 
death and whom I dislike to hurt, but he cannot escape 
therefrom ; and no means whereby My servant seeks My 
favour is more pleasing to Me than the performance of the 
obligations which I have laid upon him ; and My servant 
continuously seeks My favour by works of supererogation until 
I love him, and when I love him I am his hearing and his sight 
and his hand and his helper. " And the Apostle also said, 
" God loves to meet those who love to meet Him, and dislikes 
to meet those who dislike to meet Him " ; and again, " When 
God loves a man He says to Gabriel, O Gabriel, I love such 
and such a one, so do thou love him ; then Gabriel loves him 
and says to the dwellers in Heaven, God loves such and such 
a one, and they love him too ; then he bestows on him favour 
in the earth, so that he is loved by the inhabitants of the earth ; 
and as it happens with regard to love, so does it happen with 
regard to hate." 

Mahabbat (love) is said to be derived from hibbat, which are 
seeds that fall to the earth in the desert. The name hubb (love) 
was given to such desert seeds (Jiibb\ because love is the source 
of life just as seeds are the origin of plants. As, when the seeds 
are scattered in the desert, they become hidden in the earth, 
and rain falls upon them and the sun shines upon them and cold 
and heat pass over them, yet they are not corrupted by the 
changing seasons, but grow up and bear flowers and give fruit, 
so love, when it takes its dwelling in the heart, is not corrupted 
by presence or absence, by pleasure or pain, by separation or 
union. Others say that mahabbat is derived from hubb, meaning 
"a jar full of stagnant water ", because when love is collected in 
the heart and fills it, there is no room there for any thought 
except of the beloved, as Shibli says : " Love is called mahabbat 
because it obliterates (tain/iii) from the heart everything except 
the beloved." Others say that mahabbat is derived from hubb> 
meaning " the four conjoined pieces of wood on which a water-jug 



is placed, because a lover lightly bears whatever his beloved 
metes out to him honour or disgrace, pain or pleasure, fair 
treatment or foul ". According to others, mahabbat is derived 
from habb, the plural of habbat, and habbat is the core of the 
heart, where love resides. In this case, mahabbat is called by 
the name of its dwelling-place, a principle of which there are 
numerous examples in Arabic. Others derive it from habdb, 
" bubbles of water and the effervescence thereof in a heavy 
rainfall," because love is the effervescence of the heart in longing 
for union with the beloved. As the body subsists through the 
spirit, so the heart subsists through love, and love subsists 
through vision of, and union with, the beloved. Others, again, 
declare that hubb is a name applied to pure love, because the 
Arabs call the pure white of the human eye habbat al-insdn, 
just as they call the pure black (core) of the heart habbat 
al-qalb: the latter is the seat of love, the former of vision. 
Hence the heart and the eye are rivals in love, as the poet says : 

" My heart envies mine eye the pleasure of seeing, 
And mine eye envies my heart the pleasure of meditating." 


You must know that the term " love " (mahabbat) is used by 
theologians in three significations. Firstly, as meaning restless 
desire for the object of love, and inclination and passion, in 
which sense it refers only to created beings and their mutual 
affection towards one another, but cannot be applied to God, 
who is exalted far above anything of this sort. Secondly, as 
meaning God s beneficence and His conferment of special 
privileges on those whom He chooses and causes to attain the 
perfection of saintship and peculiarly distinguishes by diverse 
kinds of His miraculous grace. Thirdly, as meaning praise 
which God bestows on a man for a good action (thand-yi jamil)> 

Some scholastic philosophers say that God s love, which He 
has made known to us, belongs to those traditional attributes, 

1 Cf. Qtishayri (Cairo, 1318 A.H.), 170, 14 sqa. 

LOVE. 307 

like His face and His hand and His settling Himself firmly on 
His throne (istiwd), of which the existence from the standpoint 
of reason would appear to be impossible if they had not been 
proclaimed as Divine attributes in the Koran and the Sunna. 
Therefore we affirm them and believe in them, but suspend our 
own judgment concerning them. These scholastics mean to 
deny that the term " love " can be applied to God in all the 
senses which I have mentioned. I will now explain to you the 
truth of this matter. 

God s love of Man is His good will towards him and His 
having mercy on him. Love is one of the names of His will 
(irddat\ like " satisfaction ", " anger ", " mercy ", etc., and His 
will is an eternal attribute whereby He wills His actions. In 
short, God s love towards Man consists in showing much favour 
to him, and giving him a recompense in this world and the next, 
and making him secure from punishment and keeping him safe 
from sin, and bestowing on him lofty "states" and exalted 
"stations" and causing him to turn his thoughts away from all 
that is other than God. When God peculiarly distinguishes 
anyone in this way, that specialization of His will is called love. 
This is the doctrine of Harith Muhasibi and Junayd and a large 
number of the Sufi Shaykhs as well as of the lawyers belonging 
to both the sects ; and most of the Sunrri scholastics hold the 
same opinion. As regards their assertion that Divine love is 
" praise given to a man for a good action " (thand-yi jamil bar 
bandd), God s praise is His word (kaldm), which is uncreated ; 
and as regards their assertion that Divine love means 
" beneficence ", His beneficence consists in His actions. Hence 
the different views are substantially in close relation to each 

Man s love towards God is a quality which manifests itself in 
the heart of the pious believer, in the form of veneration and 
magnification, so that he seeks to satisfy his Beloved and 
becomes impatient and restless in his desire for vision of Him, 
and cannot rest with anyone except Him, and grows familiar 
with the remembrance (dhikr) of Him, and abjures the 


remembrance of everything besides. Repose becomes un 
lawful to him and rest flees from him. He is cut off from 
all habits and associations, and renounces sensual passion and 
turns towards the court of love and submits to the law of love 
and knows God by His attributes of perfection. It is impossible 
that Man s love of God should be similar in kind to the love of 
His creatures towards one another, for the former is desire to 
comprehend and attain the beloved object, while the latter is 
a property of bodies. The lovers of God are those who devote 
themselves to death in nearness to Him, not those who seek 
His nature (kayfiyyat\ because the seeker stands by himself, 
but he who devotes himself to death (inustahlifc) stands by his 
Beloved ; and the truest lovers are they who would fain die 
thus, and are overpowered, because a phenomenal being has no 
means of approaching the Eternal save through the omnipotence 
of the Eternal. He who knows what is real love feels no more 
difficulties, and all his doubts depart. Love, then, is of two 
kinds (i) the love of like towards like, which is a desire 
instigated by the lower soul and which seeks the essence 
(dJidf) of the beloved object by means of sexual intercourse; 
(2) the love of one who is unlike the object of his love and who 
seeks to become intimately attached to an attribute of that 
object, e.g. hearing without speech or seeing without eye. And 
believers who love God are of two kinds (i) those who regard 
the favour and beneficence of God towards them, and are led 
by that regard to love the Benefactor ; (2) those who are so 
enraptured by love that they reckon all favours as a veil 
(between themselves and God) and by regarding the Benefactor 
are led to (consciousness of) His favours. The latter way is the 
more exalted of the two. 


Among the Sufi Shaykhs Sumnun al-Muhibb holds a peculiar 
doctrine concerning love. He asserts that love is the foundation 
and principle of the way to God, that all " states J; and " stations " 
are stages of love, and that every stage and abode in which the 

LOVE. 309 

seeker may be admits of destruction, except the abode of love, 
which is not destructible in any circumstances so long as the 
way itself remains in existence, All the other Shaykhs agree 
with him in this matter, but since the term " love " is current and 
well known, and they wished the doctrine of Divine love to 
remain hidden, instead of calling it " love " they gave it the 
name of " purity " (safivaf), and the lover they called " Sufi " ; or 
they used the word " poverty " (faqr) to denote the renunciation 
of the lover s personal will in his affirmation of the Beloved s will, 
and they called the lover " poor " (faqtr). I have explained the 
theory of " purity " and " poverty " in the beginning of this book. 
Amr b. Uthman Makkf says in the Kitdb-i Mahabbat 1 
that God created the souls (dilha) seven thousand years 
before the bodies and kept them in the station of proximity 
(qurb\ and that he created the spirits (jdnhd) seven thousand 
years before the souls and kept them in the degree of 
intimacy (uns\ and that he created the hearts (sirrhd) seven 
thousand years before the spirits and kept them in the degree 
of union (wasl\ and revealed the epiphany of His beauty to 
the heart three hundred and sixty times every day and 
bestowed on it three hundred and sixty looks of grace, and 
He caused the spirits to hear the word of love and manifested 
three hundred and sixty exquisite favours of intimacy to the 
soul, so that they all surveyed the phenomenal universe and 
saw nothing more precious than themselves and were filled 
with vanity and pride. Therefore God subjected them to 
probation : He imprisoned the heart in the spirit and the 
spirit in the soul and the soul in the body ; then He mingled 
reason ( l aql) with them, and sent prophets and gave commands ; 
then each of them began to seek its original station. God 
ordered them to pray. The body betook itself to prayer, 
the soul attained to love, the spirit arrived at proximity to 
God, and the heart found rest in union with Him. The 
explanation of love is not love, because love is a feeling (hdl), 
and feelings are never mere words (qdl}. If the whole world 

1 "The Book of Love." 


wished to attract love, they could not ; and if they made the 
utmost efforts to repel it, they could not. Love is a Divine 
gift, not anything that can be acquired. 


Concerning excessive love (ishq) there is much controversy 
among the Shaykhs. Some Sufis hold that excessive love 
towards God is allowable, but that it does not proceed from 
God. Such love, they say, is the attribute of one who is 
debarred from his beloved, and Man is debarred from God, 
but God is not debarred from Man : therefore Man may love 
God excessively, but the term is not applicable to God. 
Others, again, take the view that God cannot be the object 
of Man s excessive love, because such love involves a passing 
beyond limits, whereas God is not limited. The moderns 
assert that excessive love, in this world and the next, is 
properly applied only to the desire of attaining the essence, 
and inasmuch as the essence of God is not attainable, the 
term (ishq) is not rightly used in reference to Man s love 
towards God, although the terms "love" (maJiabbaf) and 
"pure love" (safwaf) are correct. They say, moreover, that 
while love (mahabbaf) may be produced by hearing, excessive 
love (ishq} cannot possibly arise without actual vision : 
therefore it cannot be felt towards God, who is not seen in 
this world. The essence of God is not attainable or perceptible, 
that Man should be able to feel excessive love towards Him ; 
but Man feels love (mahabbaf) towards God, because God, 
through His attributes and actions, is a gracious benefactor 
to His friends. Since Jacob was absorbed in love (mahabbaf] 
for Joseph, from whom he was separated, his eyes became 
bright and clear as soon as he smelt Joseph s shirt ; but since 
Zulaykha was ready to die on account of her excessive love 
(ishq) for Joseph, her eyes were not opened until she was 
united with him. It has also been said that excessive love 
is applicable to God, on the ground that neither God nor 
excessive love has any opposite. 

LOVE. 311 


I will now mention a few of the innumerable indications 
which the Sufi Shaykhs have given as to the true nature of 
love. Master Abu 1-Qasim Qushayri says : " Love is the 
effacement of the lover s attributes and the establishment of 
the Beloved s essence," i.e. since the Beloved is subsistent 
(bdqi} and the lover is annihilated (fdni} the jealousy of 
love requires that the lover should make the subsistence of 
the Beloved absolute by negating himself, and he cannot 
negate his own attributes except by affirming the essence of 
the Beloved. No lover can stand by his own attributes, for 
in that case he would not need the Beloved s beauty ; but 
when he knows that his life depends on the Beloved s beauty, 
he necessarily seeks to annihilate his own attributes, which 
veil him from his Beloved ; and thus in love for his Friend 
he becomes an enemy to himself. It is well known that the 
last words of Husayn b. Mansur (al-Hallaj) on the scaffold 
were Hash al-wdjid ifrdd al-wdhid, " It is enough for the 
lover that he should make the One single," i.e. that his 
existence should be cleared away from the path of love and 
that the dominion of his lower soul should be utterly destroyed. 
Abu Yazi d Bistami says : " Love consists in regarding your 
own much as little and your Beloved s little as much." This 
is how God Himself deals with His servants, for He calls 
" little " that which He has given to them in this world 
(Kor. iv, 79), but calls their praise of Him " much " " the 
men and women who praise God much" (Kor. xxxiii, 35) 
in order that all His creatures may know that He is the 
real Beloved, because nothing is little that God bestows on 
Man, and all is little that Man offers to God. Sahl b. 
Abdallah al-Tustan says : " Love consists in embracing acts 
of obedience (mu dnaqat al-td df) and in avoiding acts of 
disobedience," because a man performs the command of his 
beloved more easily in proportion to the strength of love 
in his heart. This is a refutation of those heretics who 


declare that a man may attain to such a degree of love that 
obedience is no longer required of him, a doctrine which is 
sheer heresy. It is impossible that any person, while his 
understanding is sound, should be relieved of his religious 
obligations, because the law of Muhammad will never be 
abrogated, and if one such person may be thus relieved 
why not all ? The case of persons overcome with rapture 
(maghhib] and idiots (ma M) is different. It is possible, 
however, that God in His love should bring a man to such 
a degree that it costs him no trouble to perform his religious 
duties, because the more one loves Him who gives the com 
mand the less trouble will he have in executing it. When 
the Apostle abandoned himself entirely to devotion both by 
day and night, so that his blessed feet became swollen, God 
said : " We have not sent down the Koran to thee in order 
that thou shonldst be miserable" (Kor. xx, i). And it is also 
possible that one should be relieved of the consciousness of 
performing the Divine command, as the Apostle said : "Verily, 
a veil is drawn over my heart, and I ask forgiveness of God 
seventy times daily," i.e. he asked to be forgiven for his 
actions, because he was not regarding himself and his actions, 
that he should be pleased with his obedience, but was paying 
regard to the majesty of God s command and was thinking 
that his actions were not worthy of God s acceptance. Sumnun 
Muhibb says : " The lovers of God have borne away the glory 
of this world and the next, for the Prophet said, A man is 
with the object of his love. " Therefore they are with God 
in both worlds, and those who are with God can do no wrong. 
The glory of this world is God s being with them, and the 
glory of the next world is their being with God. Yahyd 
b. Mu adh al-Rdzi says: "Real love is neither diminished by 
unkindness nor increased by kindness and bounty," because 
in love both kindness and unkindness are causes and the 
cause of a thing is reduced to nothing when the thing itself 
actually exists. A lover delights in the affliction that his 
beloved makes him suffer, and having love he regards kindness 

LOVE. 313 

and unkindness with the same indifference. The story is well 
known how Shibli was supposed to be insane and was confined 
in a madhouse. Some persons came to visit him. " Who are 
you ? " he asked. They answered : " Thy friends," whereupon 
he pelted them with stones and put them to flight. Then he 
said : " Had you been my friends, you would not have fled 
from my affliction." 


ALMS (al-sakdf). 

Alms is one of the obligatory ordinances of the faith. It 
becomes due on the completion of a benefit ; e.g., two hundred 
chrhems constitute a complete benefit (nfmatt tamd,n\ and 
myone who is in possession of that sum ought to pay five 
dirhems ; or if he possesses twenty dfnars he ought to pay half 
a dinar; or if he possesses five camels he ought to pay one 
sheep, and so forth. Alms is also due on account of dignity 
(>/0, because that too is a complete benefit. The Apostle said : 
Verily, God has made it incumbent upon you to pay the 
alms of your dignity, even as He has made it incumbent 
upon you to pay the alms of your property"; and he said 
" Everything has its alms, and the alms of a house is 
the guest-room." 

Alms is really thanksgiving for a benefit received, the thanks 
emg similar in kind to the benefit. Thus health is a great 
ssing, for which every limb owes alms. Therefore healthy 
Arsons ought to occupy all their limbs with devotion and 
yield them to pleasure and pastime, in order that the 
alms due for the blessing of health may be fully paid 
Moreover, there is an alms for every spiritual blessing, namely 
Jtward and inward acknowledgment of that blessing in 
proportion to its worth. Thus, when a man knows that the 
sings bestowed upon him by God are infinite, he should 
infinite thanks by way of alms. The Sufi s do not 
ider ,t praiseworthy to give alms on account of worldly 
ssmgs, because they disapprove of avarice, and a man 
: needs be extremely avaricious to keep two hundred 
. hems , his possession for a whole year and then give 

ALMS. 315 

away five dirhems in alms. Since it is the custom of the 
generous to lavish their wealth, and since they are disposed 
to be liberal, how should almsgiving be incumbent upon them? 
I have read in the Anecdotes that a certain formal theologian, 
wishing to make trial of Shiblf, asked him what sum ought 
to be given in alms. Shibli replied : " Where avarice is present 
and property exists, five clirhems out of every two hundred 
dirhems, and half a dinar out of every twenty dinars. That 
is according to thy doctrine; but according to mine, a man 
ought not to possess anything, in which case he will be saved 
from the trouble of giving alms." The divine asked : " Whose 
authority do you follow in this matter ? " Shiblf said : " The 
authority of Abu Bakr the Veracious, who gave away all 
that he possessed, and on being asked by the Apostle what 
he had left behind for his family, answered, God and His 
Apostle. " And it is related that All said in an ode 

"Almsgiving is not incumbent on me^ 
For Jww can a generous man be required to give alms ? " 

But it is absurd for anyone to cultivate ignorance and to 
say that because he has no property he need not be acquainted 
with the theory of almsgiving. To learn and obtain knowledge 
is an essential obligation, and to profess one s self independent 
of knowledge is mere infidelity. It is one of the evils of the 
present age that many who pretend to be pious dervishes 
reject knowledge in favour of ignorance. The author says : 
" Once I was giving devotional instruction to some novices 
in Sufiism and was discussing the chapter on the poor-rate of 
camels (sadaqat al-ibil) and explaining the rules in regard to 
she-camels that have entered on their third or second or fourth 
year (bint-i labun it bint-i makJidd u hiqqa). An ignorant 
fellow, tired of listening to my discourse, rose and said : 
* I have no camels: what use is this knowledge to me? 
I answered : Knowledge is necessary in taking alms no less 
than in giving alms : if anyone should give you a she-camel 
in her third year and you should accept her, you ought to 


be informed on this point ; and even though one has no 
property and does not want to have any property, he is not 
thereby relieved from the obligation of knowledge. " 


Some of the Sufi Shaykhs have accepted alms, while others 
have declined to do so. Those whose poverty is voluntary 
(ba-ikhtiydr) belong to the latter class. "We do not amass 
property," they say, "therefore we need not give alms; nor 
will we accept alms from worldlings, lest they should have 
the upper hand (yad-i l ulyd) and we the lower (yad-i sufld)" 
But those who in their poverty are under Divine compulsion 
(inudtarr) accept alms, not for their own wants but with the 
purpose of relieving a brother Moslem of his obligation. In 
this case the receiver of alms, not the giver, has the upper 
hand; otherwise, the words of God, "And He accepteth the 
alms" (Kor. ix, 105), are meaningless, and the giver of alms 
must be superior to the receiver, a belief which is utterly 
false. No ; the upper hand belongs to him who takes some 
thing from a brother Moslem in order that the latter may 
escape from a heavy responsibility. Dervishes are not of 
this world (dunyd i), but of the next world ( i uqbd i\ and if 
a dervish fails to relieve a worldling of his responsibility, 
the worldling will be held accountable and punished at the 
Resurrection for having neglected to fulfil his obligation. 
Therefore God afflicts the dervish with a slight want in order 
that worldlings may be able to perform what is incumbent 
upon them. The upper hand is necessarily the hand of the 
dervish who receives alms in accordance with the require 
ment of the law, because it behoves him to take that which 
is due to God. If the hand of the recipient were the lower 
hand, as some anthropomorphists (ahl-i hashw) declare, then 
the hands of the Apostles, who often received alms due to 
God and delivered it to the proper authority, must have been 
lower (than the hands of those who gave the alms to them). 
This view is erroneous; its adherents do not see that the 

ALMS. 317 

Apostles received alms in consequence of the Divine com 
mand. The religious Imams have acted in the same manner 
as the Apostles, for they have always received payments due 
to the public treasury. Those are in the wrong who assert 
that the hand of the receiver is the lower and that of the 
giver is the higher. 

Chapter on Liberality and Generosity. 

In the opinion of theologians liberality (jud} and generosity 
(sakkd), when regarded as human attributes, are synonymous ; 
but God, although He is called liberal (jawdd\ is not called 
generous (sakhi], bee. use He has not called Himself by the 
latter name, nor is He so called in any Apostolic Tradition. 
All orthodox Moslems are agreed that it is not allowable to 
apply to God any name that is not proclaimed in the Koran 
and the Sunna : thus Jrle may be called knowing; (V/zV/z), but 
not^ intelligent (dqil) or wise (faqi/i), although the three 
terms bear the same signification. Hence God is called 
liberal, since that name is accompanied by His blessing ; 
and He is not called generous, since that name lacks His 
blessing. Men have made a distinction between liberality 
(jud) and generosity (saklid], and have said that the generous- 
man discriminates in his liberality, and that his actions are 
connected with a selfish motive (gharad) and a cause (sabab). 
This is a rudimentary stage in liberality, for the liberal man 
does not discriminate, and his actions are devoid of self-interest 
and without any secondary cause. These two qualities were 
exhibited by two Apostles, viz., Abraham, the Friend of God 
(Klialil\ and Muhammad, the Beloved of God (Habtb). It is 
related^ in the genuine Traditions that Abraham was accustomed 
not to eat anything until a guest came to him. Once, after 
three days had passed without the arrival of a guest, a fire- 
worshipper appeared at the door, but Abraham, on hearing who 
he was, refused to give him entertainment. God reproached 
him on this account, saying: "Wilt not thou give a piece of 
bread to one whom I have nourished for seventy years?" 


But Muhammad, when the son of Hatim visited him, spread 
his own mantle on the ground for him and said : " Honour 
the noble chieftain of a people when he comes to you." 
Abraham s position was generosity, but our Apostle s was 

The best rule in this matter is set forth in the maxim that 
liberality consists in following one s first thought, and that 
it is a sign of avarice when the second thought prevails over 
the first ; for the first thought is unquestionably from God. 
I have read that at Nishapur there was a merchant who used 
regularly to attend the meetings held by Shaykh Abu Sa i d. 
One day a dervish who was present begged the Shaykh to 
give him something. The merchant had a dinar and a small 
piece of clipped money (qurddd). His first thought was: 
" I will give the dinar," but on second thoughts he gave the 
clipped piece. When the Shaykh finished his discourse the 
merchant asked : " Is it right for anyone to contend with 
God ? " The Shaykh answered : " You contended with Him : 
He bade you give the dinar, but you gave the clipping." 
I have also read that Shaykh Abu Abdallah Rudbari came 
to the house of a disciple in his absence, and ordered that 
all the effects in the house should be taken to the bazaar. 
When the disciple returned he was delighted that the Shaykh 
had behaved with such freedom, but he said nothing. His 
wife, however, tore off her dress and flung it down, saying : 
"This belongs to the effects of the house." The husband 
exclaimed: "You are doing more than is necessary and 
showing self-will." " O husband," said she, " what the Shaykh 
did was the result of his liberality : we too must exert ourselves 
(takalluf kunim) to display liberality." " Yes," replied the 
husband, " but if we allow the Shaykh to be liberal, that is 
real liberality in us, whereas liberality, regarded as a human 
quality, is forced and unreal." A disciple ought always to 
sacrifice his property and himself in obedience to the command 
of God. Hence Sahl b. Abdallah (al-Tustari) said: "The 
Sufi s blood may be shed with impunity, and his property 


may be seized." I have heard the following story of Shaykh 
Abu Muslim Farisi : "Once (he said) I set out with a number 
of people for the Hijaz. In the neighbourhood of Hulwan 
we were attacked by Kurds, who stripped us of our patched 
frocks. We offered no resistance. One man, however, became 
greatly excited, whereupon a Kurd drew his scimitar and 
killed him, notwithstanding our entreaties that his life might 
be spared. On our asking why he had killed him he answered r 
* Because he is no Sufi and acts disloyally in the company 
of saints: such a one is better dead/ We said: How so? 
He replied : The first step in Sufiism is liberality. This 
fellow, who was so desperately attached to these rags that 
he quarrelled with his own friends, how should he be a Sufi? 
His own friends, I say, for it is a long time since we have 
been doing as you do, and plundering you and stripping 
you of worldly encumbrances. " l A man came to the house 
of Hasan b. All and said that he owed four hundred dirhems. 
Hasan gave him four hundred dinars and went into the house, 
weeping. They asked him why he wept. He answered: "I have 
been remiss in making inquiry into the circumstances of this 
man, and have reduced him to the humiliation of begging." 
Abu Sahl Su luki never put alms into the hand of a dervish, 
and always used to lay on the ground anything that he gave. 
"Worldly goods," he said, " are too worthless to be placed in 
the hand of a Moslem, so that my hand should be the upper 
and his the lower." 2 I once met a dervish to whom a Sultan 
had sent three hundred drachms of pure gold. He went to 
a bath-house, and gave the whole sum to the superintendent 
and immediately departed. I have already discussed the subject 
of liberality in the chapter on preference (ithdr\ where I have 
dealt with the doctrine of the Nun s. 

1 Here follows a story of Abdallah b. Ja far and an Abyssinian slave, who let 
a dog eat the whole of his daily portion of food. 

2 Here the author relates three short anecdotes illustrating the liberality of 




God hath said : " O believers, fasting is prescribed unto you " 
(Kor. ii, 179). And the Apostle said that he was informed 
by Gabriel that God said : " Fasting is mine, and I have the 
best right to give recompense for it " (al-sawm li wa-ana ajzd 
bihi)^ because the religious practice of fasting is a mystery 
unconnected with any external thing, a mystery in which none 
other than God participates : hence its recompense is infinite. 
It has been said that mankind enter Paradise through God s 
mercy, and that their rank therein depends on their religious 
devotion, and that their abiding therein for ever is the recom 
pense of their fasting, because God said : " I have the best right 
to give recompense for it." Junayd said : " Fasting is half of 
the Way." I have seen Shaykhs who fasted without inter 
mission, and others who fasted only during the month of 
Ramadan : the former were seeking recompense, and the latter 
were renouncing self-will and ostentation. Again, I have seen 
others who fasted and were not conscious of anyone and ate only 
when food was set before them. This is more in accordance 
with the Sunna. It is related that the Apostle came to A isha 
and Hafsa, who said to him : " We have kept some dates and 
butter (hays) for thee." " Bring it," said he ; "I was intending 
to fast, but I will fast another day instead." I have seen others 
who fasted on the "white days" (from the I3th to the I5th of 
every month), and on the ten (last nights) of the blessed month 
(Ramadan), and also during Rajab, Sha ban, and Ramadan. 
Others I have seen who observed the fast of David, which the 

1 The usual reading is ajz/, "I give recompense," but the Persian translation, 
ba-jazd-yi an man awldtaram, is equivalent to ana ajzd bihi. 


Apostle called the best of fasts, i.e. they fasted one day and 
broke their fast the next day. Once I came into the presence 
of Shaykh Ahmad Bukhari. He had a dish of sweetmeat 
(Jialwd) before him, from which he was eating, and he made 
a sign to me that I should do the same. As is the way of 
young men, I answered (without consideration) that I was 
fasting. He asked why. I said : " In conformity with such 
and such a one." He said : " It is not right for human beings 
to conform with human beings." I was about to break my fast, 
but he said : " Since you wish to be quit of conformity with 
him, do not conform with me, for I too am a human being." 
Fasting is really abstinence, and this includes the whole method 
of Sufiism (tariqaf]. The least degree in fasting is hunger, 
which is God s food on earth, and is universally commended 
in the eye of the law and of reason. One month s continual 
fasting is incumbent on every reasonable Moslem who has 
attained to manhood. The fast begins on the appearance of 
the moon of Ramadan, and continues until the appearance of 
the moon of Shawwal, and for every day a sincere intention 
and firm obligation are necessary. Abstinence involves many 
obligations, e.g., keeping the belly without food and drink, and 
guarding the eye from lustful looks, and the ear from listening 
to evil speech about anyone in his absence, and the tongue from 
vain or foul words, and the body from following after worldly 
things and disobedience to God. One who acts in this manner 
is truly keeping his fast, for the Apostle said to a certain man, 
" When you fast, let your ear fast and your eye and your tongue 
and your hand and every limb ; " and he also said, " Many 
a one has no good of his fasting except hunger and thirst." 

I dreamed that I saw the Apostle and asked him to give me 
a word of counsel, and that he replied : " Imprison thy tongue 
and thy senses." To imprison the senses is complete self- 
mortification, because all kinds of knowledge are acquired 
through the five senses : sight, hearing, taste, smell, andTtouch. 
Four of the senses have a particular locus, but the fifth, namely 
touch, is spread over the whole body. Everything that becomes 



. to human beings passes through these five doors, except 
intuitive knowledge and Divine inspiration, and in each sense 
there is a purity and an impurity ; for, just as they are open to 
knowledge, reason, and spirit, so they are open to imagination 
and passion, being organs which partake of piety and sin and of 
felicity and misery. Therefore it behoves him who is keeping 
a fast to imprison all the senses in order that they may return 
from disobedience to obedience. To abstain only from food 
and drink is child s play. One must abstain from idle pleasures 
and unlawful acts, not from eating lawful food. I marvel at 
those who say that they are keeping a voluntary fast and yet 
fail to perform an obligatory duty. Not to commit sin is 
obligatory, whereas continual fasting is an apostolic custom 
(which may be observed or neglected). When a man is 
divinely protected from sin all his circumstances are a fast. 
It is related by Abu Talha al-Maliki that Sahl b. Abdallah 
of Tustar was fasting on the day of his birth and also on the 
day of his death, because he was born in the forenoon and 
tasted no milk until the evening prayer, and on the day of his 
decease he was keeping a fast. But continual fasting (niza-i 
wisdl] has been forbidden by the Apostle, for when he fasted 
continually, and his Companions conformed with him in that 
respect, he forbade them, saying : " I am not as one of you : 
I pass the night with my Lord, who gives me food and drink." 
The votaries of self-mortification assert that this prohibition 
was an act of indulgence, not a veto declaring such fasts to 
be unlawful, and others regard them as being contrary to the 
Sunna, but the fact is that continuance (wisdl) is impossible, 
because the day s fast is interrupted by night or, at any rate, 
does not continue beyond a certain period. It is related that 
Sahl b. Abdallah of Tustar used to eat only once in fifteen 
days, and when the month of Ramadan arrived he ate nothing 
until the Feast, and performed four hundred bowings in prayer 
every night. This exceeds the limit of human endurance, and 
cannot be accomplished by anyone without Divine aid, which 
itself becomes his nourishment. It is well known that Shaykh 


Abu Nasr Sarraj, 1 the author of the Luma , 2 who was surnamed 
the Peacock of the Poor (Td iis al-fuqard\ came to Baghdad in 
the month of Ramadan, and was given a private chamber in the 
Shum ziyya mosque, and was appointed to preside over the 
dervishes until the Feast. During the nightly prayers of 
Ramadan (tardwtJt) he recited the whole Koran five times. 
Every night a servant brought a loaf of bread to his room. 
When he departed, on the day of the Feast, the servant found 
all the thirty loaves untouched. All b. Bakkar relates that 
Hafs Missisf ate nothing in Ramadan except on the fifteenth 
day of that month. We are told that Ibrahim Adham fasted 
from the beginning to the end of Ramadan, and, although it 
was the month of Tammuz (July), worked every day as 
a harvester and gave his wages to the dervishes, and prayed 
from nightfall to daybreak ; they watched him closely and saw 
that he neither ate nor slept. It is said that Shaykh Abu 
Abdallah Khafif during his life kept forty uninterrupted fasts 
of forty days, and I have met with an old man who used 
annually to keep two fasts of forty days in the desert. I was 
present at the death-bed of Danishmand Abu Muhammad 
Banghari ; he had tasted no food for eighty days and had 
not missed a single occasion of public worship. At Merv 
there were two spiritual directors; one was called Mas ud and 
the other was Shaykh Abu All Siyah. Mas ud sent a message 
to Abu All, saying : " How long shall we make empty 
pretensions? Come, let us sit fasting for forty days." Abu 
All replied : " No ; let us eat three times a day and never 
theless require only one purification during these forty days." 
The difficulties of this question are not yet removed. Ignorant 
persons conclude that continuance in fasting is possible, while 
physicians allege that such a theory is entirely baseless. I will 
now explain the matter in full. To fast continuously, without 
infringing the Divine command, is a miracle (kardmaf). 
Miracles have a special, not a general, application : if they 
were vouchsafed to all, faith would be an act of necessity 

1 Nafahat, No. 353. 2 "Brilliancies." Naf. entitles it ***) . 


(jabr) and gnostics would not be recompensed on account of 
gnosis. The Apostle wrought evidentiary miracles (imfjizdf) 
and therefore divulged his continuance in fasting ; but he 
forbade the saints (ahl-i kardmaf) to divulge it, because 
a kardmat involves concealment, whereas a mu jizat involves 
revelation. This is a clear distinction between the miracles 
performed by Apostles and those performed by saints, and 
will be sufficient for anyone who is divinely guided. The 
forty days fasts (chilld) of the saints are derived from the fast 
of Moses (Kor. vii, 138). When the saints desire to hear the 
word of God spiritually, they remain fasting for forty days. 
After thirty days have passed they rub their teeth ; then they 
fast ten days more, and God speaks to their hearts, because 
whatever the prophets enjoy openly the saints may enjoy 
secretly. Now, hearing the word of God is not compatible 
with the subsistence of the natural temperament : therefore the 
four humours must be deprived of food and drink for forty days 
in order that they may be utterly subdued, and that the purity 
of love and the subtlety of the spirit may hold absolute sway. 

Chapter on Hunger and matters connected with it. 

Hunger^ sharpens the intelligence and improves the mind 
and health. The Apostle said : " Make your bellies hungry 
and your livers thirsty and your bodies naked, that perchance 
your hearts may see God in this world." Although hunger 
is an affliction to the body, it illumines the heart and purifies 
the soul, and leads the spirit into the presence of God. To 
eat one s fill is an act worthy of a beast. One who cultivates 
his spiritual nature by means of hunger, in order to devote 
himself entirely to God and detach himself from worldly ties, 
is not on the same level with one who cultivates his body by 
means of gluttony, and serves his lusts. "JThe men of old 
ate to live, but ye live to eat." For the sake of a mgrsel~of 
food Adam fell from Paradise, and was banished far from the 
neighbourhood of God. 

He whose hunger is, compulsory is not really hungry, because 

HUNGER. 325 

one who desires to eat after God has decreed the contrary 
is virtually eating ; the merit of hunger belongs to him who 
abstains from eating, not to him who is debarred from eating. 
Kattani l says : " The novice shall sleep only when he is 
overpowered by slumber, and speak only when he must, and 
eat only when he is starving." According to some, starvation 
(fdqa) involves abstention from food for two days and nights ; 
others say three days and nights, or a week, or forty days, 
because true mystics believe that a sincere man (sddiq) is only 
once hungry in forty days ; his hunger merely serves to keep 
him alive, and all hunger besides is natural appetite and vanity. 
You must know that all the veins in the bodies of gnostics 
are evidences of the Divine mysteries, and that their hearts 
are tenanted by visions of the Most High. Their hearts are 
doors opened in their breasts, and at these doors are stationed 
reason and passion : reason is reinforced by the spirit, and 
passion by the lower soul. The more the natural humours are 
nourished by food, the stronger does the lower soul become, 
and the more impetuously is passion diffused through the 
members of the body ; and in every vein a different kind of 
veil (Jiijdbt) is produced. But when food is withheld from the 
lower soul it grows weak, and the reason gains strength, and 
the mysteries and evidences of God become more visible, 
until, when the lower soul is unable to work and passion is 
annihilated, every vain desire is effaced in the manifestation 
of the Truth, and the seeker of God attains to the whole of 
his desire. It is related that Abu V Abbas Qassab said : " My 
obedience and disobedience depend on two cakes of bread : 
when I eat I find in myself the stuff of every sin, but when 
I abstain from eating I find in myself the foundation of every 
act of piety." The fruit of hunger is contemplation of God 
(inushdhadat), of which the forerunner is mortification (inujd- 
hadaf). Repletion combined with contemplation is better than 
hunger combined with mortification, because contemplation is 
the battle-field of men, whereas mortification is the playground 
of children. 

1 Nafahdt, No. 215. 



The pilgrimage (kajj} is binding on every Moslem of sound 
mind who is able to perform it and has reached manhood. It 
consists in putting on the pilgrim s garb at the proper place, 
in standing on Arafat, in circumambulating the Ka ba, and in 
running between Safa and Marwa. One must not enter the 
sacred territory without being clad as a pilgrim (be ihrdui). 
The sacred territory (Jiarani) is so called because it contains 
the Station of Abraham (Maqdm-i Ibrdhiiti). Abraham had 
two stations : the station of his body, namely, Mecca, and the 
station of his soul, namely, friendship (khullaf). Whoever seeks 
his bodily station must renounce all lusts and pleasures and put 
on the pilgrim s garb and clothe himself in a winding-sheet 
(kafafi) and refrain from hunting lawful game, and keep all his 
senses under strict control, and be present at Arafat and go 
thence to Muzdalifa and Mash ar al-Haram, and pick up stones 
and circumambulate the Ka ba and visit Mina and stay there 
three days and throw stones in the prescribed manner and cut 
his hair and perform the sacrifice and put on his (ordinary) 
clothes. But whoever seeks his spiritual station must renounce 
familiar associations and bid farewell to pleasures and take 
no thought of other than God (for his looking towards the 
phenomenal world is interdicted) ; then he must stand on 
the Arafat of gnosis (inctrifat) and from there set out for the 
Muzdalifa of amity (rilfaf) and from there send his heart to 
circumambulate the temple of Divine purification (tanziJi), and 
throw away the stones of passion and corrupt thoughts in 
the Mina of faith, and sacrifice his lower soul on the altar of 
mortification and arrive at the station of friendship (khullaf). 


To enter the bodily station is to be secure from enemies 
and their swords, tut to enter the spiritual station is to be 
secure from separation (from God) and its consequences. 1 

Muhammad b. al-Fadl says : " I wonder at those who seek 
His temple in this world : why do not they seek contemplation 
of Him in their hearts? The temple they sometimes attain 
arid sometimes miss, but contemplation they might enjoy always. 
If they are bound to visit a stone, which is looked at only once 
a year, surely they are more bound to visit the temple of the 
heart, where He may be seen three hundred and sixty times in 
a day and night Hut the mystic s every step is a symbol of 
the journey to Mecca, and when he reaches the sanctuary he 
wins a robe of honour for every step." Abu Yazi d says : " If 
anyone s recompense for worshipping God is deferred until 
to-morrow he has not worshipped God aright to-day," for the 
recompense of every moment of worship and mortification is 
immediate. And Abu Yazi d also says : "On my firstjDil grim age 
I saw only the temple ; the second time, I saw both the temple 
and the Lord of the temple ; and the third time I saw the Lord 
alone." In short, where mortification is, there is no sanctuary : 
the sanctuary is where contemplation is. Unless the whole 
universe is a man s trysting-place where he comes nigh unto 
God and a retired chamber where he enjoys intimacy with God, 
he is still a stranger to Divine love ; but when he has vision 
the whole universe is his sanctuary. 

" The darkest thing in the world is the Beloved s house witliout 
the Beloved" 

Accordingly, what is trulyi valuable is not the Ka ba, but 
contemplation and annihilation in the abode of friendship, of 
which things the sight of the Ka ba is indirectly a cause. 
But we must recognize that every cause depends on the author 
of causes (musabbib\ from whatever hidden place the providence 
of God may appear, and whencesoever the desire of the 
seeker may be fulfilled. The object of mystics (inarddri) in 

1 Here follows the story of Abraham and Nimrod which has occurred before, p. 73. 


traversing wildernesses and deserts is not the sanctuary itself, 
for to a lover of God it is unlawful to look upon His sanctuary. 
No ; their object is mortification in a longing that leayes_them 
nq_rest, and eager dissolution in a love that has no end. 
A certain man came to Junayd. Junayd asked him whence 
he came. He replied : " I have been on the pilgrimage." 
Junayd said : " From the time when you first journeyed from 
your home have you also journeyed away from all sins ? " 
Hejsaid: "No." "Then," said Junayd, "you have made no 
journey. At every stage where you halted for the night did 
you traverse a station on the way to God?" He said : "No." 
" Then," said Junayd, " you have not trodden the road stage 
by stage. When you put on the pilgrim s garb at the proper 
place did you discard the attributes of humanity as you cast 
off your ordinary clothes?" "No." "Then you have not 
put on the pilgrim s garb. When you stood on Arafat did 
you stand one instant in contemplation of God ? " " No." 
" Then you have not stood on Arafat. When you went to 
Muzdalifa and achieved your desire did you renounce all sensual 
desires?" "No." " Then you have not gone to Muzdalifa. When 
you circumambulated the Temple did you behold the immaterial 
beauty of God in the abode of purification ? " " No." " Then 
you have not circumambulated the Temple. When you ran 
between Safa and Marwa did you attain to the rank of 
purity (sofa) and virtue (inuruwwaf] ? " " No." " Then you 
have not run. When you came to Mina did all your wishes 
(munyatha) cease?" "No." "Then you have not yet visited 
Mina. When you reached the slaughter-place and offered 
sacrifice did you sacrifice the objects of sensual desire?" 
" No." " Then you have not sacrificed. When you threw the 
stones did you throw away whatever sensual thoughts were 
accompanying you ? " " No." "Then you have not yet thrown 
the stones, and you have not yet performed the pilgrimage. 
Return and perform the pilgrimage in the manner which I have 
described in order that you may arrive at the station of 
Abraham." Fudayl b. lyad says : " I saw at Mount Arafat 


a youth who stood silent with bowed head while all the people 
were praying aloud, and I asked him why he did not pray 
like them. He answered that he was in great distress, having 
lost the spiritual state (waqti) which he formerly enjoyed, 
and that he could by no means cry aloud unto God. I said : 
Pray, in order that through the blessings of this multitude 
God may accomplish thy desire. He was about to lift up 
his hands and pray, when suddenly he uttered a shriek and 
died on the spot." Dhu 1-Nun the Egyptian says : " At Mina 
I saw a young man sitting quietly while the people were 
engaged in the sacrifices. I looked at him to see what he 
was doing. He cried : O God, all the people are offering 
sacrifice. I wish to sacrifice my lower soul to Thee ; do Thou 
accept it. Having spoken, he pointed with his forefinger to 
his throat and fell dead may God have mercy on him ! " 

Pilgrimages, then, are of two kinds : (i) in absence (from 
God) and (2) in presence (of God). Anyone who is absent 
from God at Mecca is in the same position as if he were absent 
from God in his own house, and anyone who is present with 
God in his own house is in the same position as if he were 
present with God at Mecca. Pilgrimage is an act of mortifica 
tion (inujdhadafy for the sake of obtaining contemplation 
(inushdhadat\ and mortification does not become the direct 
cause of contemplation, but is only a means to it. Therefore, 
inasmuch as a means has no further effect on the reality of 
things, the true object of pilgrimage is not to visit the Ka ba, 
but to obtain contemplation of God. 

Chapter on Contemplation. 

The Apostle said: " Make your bellies hungry and your livers 
thirsty and leave the world alone, that perchance ye may see 
God with your hearts " ; and he also said, " Worship God as 
though thou sawest Him, for if thou dost not see Him, yet He 
sees thee." God said to David : " Dost thou know what is 
knowledge of Me? It is the life of the heart in contemplation 
of Me." By " contemplation " the Sufis mean spiritual vision of 


God in public and private, without asking how or in what 
manner. Abu l- Abbas b. Ata says in reference to the words 
of God : " As to those who say, Our Lord is God and who 
become steadfast" (Kor. xli, 30), i.e. "they say Our Lord is 
God in self-mortification and they become steadfast on the 
carpet of contemplation ". 

There are really two kinds of contemplation. The former 
is the result of perfect faith (sihhat-i yaqm\ the latter of 
rapturous love, for in the rapture of love a man attains to such 
a degree that his whole being is absorbed in the thought of 
his Beloved and he sees nothing else. Muhammad b. Wasi 
says : " I never saw anything without seeing God therein," 
i.e. through perfect faith. This vision is from God to His 
creatures. Shibli says : " I never saw anything except God," 
i.e. in the rapture of love and the fervour of contemplation. 
One sees the act with his bodily eye and, as he looks, beholds 
the Agent with his spiritual eye ; another is rapt by love of 
the Agent from all things else, so that he sees only the Agent. 
The one method is demonstrative (istidldli\ the other is ecstatic 
(jadhbi). In the former case, a manifest proof is derived from 
the evidences of God ; in the latter case, the seer is enraptured 
and transported by desire : evidences and verities are a veil to 
him, because he who knows a thing does not reverence aught 
besides, and he who loves a thing does not regard aught 
besides, but renounces contention with God and interference 
with Him in His decrees and His acts. God hath said of the 
Apostle at the time of his Ascension : " His eyes did not swerve 
or transgress" (Kor. liii, 17), on account of the intensity of his 
longing for God. When the lover turns his eye away from 
created things, he will inevitably see the Creator with his 
heart. God hath said : " Tell the believers to close their eyes " 
(Kor. xxiv, 30), i.e. to close their bodily eyes to lusts and 
their spiritual eyes to created things. He who is most sincere 
in self-mortification is most firmly grounded in contemplation 
for inward contemplation is connected with outward mortifica 
tion. Sahl b. Abdallah of Tustar says : " If anyone shuts his 


eye to God for a single moment, he will never be rightly 
guided all his life long," because to regard other than God is 
to be handed over to other than God, and one who is left at 
the mercy of other than God is lost. Therefore the life of 
contemplatives is the time during which they enjoy contem 
plation (mushdhadaf) : time spent in seeing ocularly (imfdyanaf) 
they do not reckon as life, for that to them is really death. 
Thus, when Abu Yazid was asked how old he was, he replied : 
"Four years." They said: "How can that be?" He answered: 
" I have been veiled (from God) by this v/orld for seventy years, 
but I have seen Him during the last four years : the period 
in which one is veiled does not belong to one s life." Shibli 
cried in his prayers : " O God, hide Paradise and Hell in Thy 
unseen places, that Thou mayest be worshipped disinterestedly." 
One who is forgetful of God nevertheless worships Him, through 
faith, because human nature has an interest in Paradise ; but 
inasmuch as the heart has no interest in loving God,, one who 
is forgetful of God is debarred from contemplating Him. The 
Apostle told A isha that he did not see God on the night of 
the Ascension, but Ibn Abbas relates that the Apostle told 
him that he saw God on that occasion. Accordingly, this 
remains a matter of controversy ; but in saying that he did 
not see God the Apostle was referring to his bodily eye, 
whereas in saying the contrary he was referring to his spiritual 
eye. Since A isha was a formalist and Ibn Abbas a spiritualist, 
the Apostle spoke with each of them according to their insight. 
Junayd said : " If God should say to me, Behold Me, I should 
reply, * I will not behold Thee/ because in love the eye is other 
(than God) and alien : the jealousy of other-ness would prevent 
me from beholding Him. Since in this world I was wont to 
behold Him without the mediation of the eye, how should 
I use such mediation in the next world ? " 

" Truly, I envy mine eye tJie sight of Thee, 
And I close mine eye when I look on Thee" 

Junayd was asked : " Do you wish to see God ? " He said : 


" No." They asked why. He answered : " When Moses wished, 
he did not see Him, and when Muhammad did not wish, he 
saw Him." Our wishing is the greatest of the veils that hinder 
us from seeing God, because in love the existence of self-will is 
disobedience, and disobedience is a veil. When self-will vanishes 
in this world, contemplation is attained, and when contemplation 
is firmly established, there is no difference between this world 
and the next. Abu Yazi d says : " God has servants who would 
apostatize if they were veiled from Him in this world or in the 
next," i.e. He sustains them with perpetual contemplation and 
keeps them alive with the life of love ; and when one who enjoys 
revelation is deprived of it, he necessarily becomes an apostate. 
Dhu 1-Nun says : "One day, when I was journeying in Egypt, 
I saw some boys who were throwing stones at a young man. 
I asked them what they wanted of him. They said : He is 
mad. I asked how his madness showed itself, and they told 
me that he pretended to see God. I turned to the young man 
and inquired whether he had really said this. He answered : 
I say that if I should not see God for one moment, I should 
remain veiled and should not be obedient towards Him. " 
Some Sufis have fallen into the mistake of supposing that 
spiritual vision and contemplation represent such an idea 
(surati) of God as is formed in the mind by the imagination 
either from memory or reflection. This is utter anthropo 
morphism (tashbiJi) and manifest error. God is not finite that 
the imagination should be able to define Him or that the 
intellect should comprehend His nature. Whatever can be 
imagined is homogeneous with the intellect, but God is not 
homogeneous with any genus, although in relation to the 
Eternal all phenomenal objects subtle and gross alike are 
homogeneous with each other notwithstanding their mutual 
contrariety. Therefore contemplation in this world resembles 
vision of God in the next world, and since the Companions of 
the Apostle (ashdb] are unanimously agreed that vision is 
possible hereafter, contemplation is possible here. Those who 
tell of contemplation either in this or the other world only say 


that it is possible, not that they have enjoyed or now enjoy it, 
because contemplation is an attribute of the heart (sirr) and 
cannot be expressed by the tongue except metaphorically. 
Hence silence ranks higher than speech, for silence is a sign 
of contemplation (mushdhadat\ whereas speech is a sign of 
ocular testimony (shahddaf). Accordingly the Apostle, when 
he attained proximity to God, said : " I cannot tell Thy praise," 
because he was in contemplation, and contemplation in the 
degree of love is perfect unity (yagdnagi\ and any outward 
expression in unity is other-ness (begdnagi). Then he said : 
" Thou hast praised Thyself," i.e. Thy words are mine, and Thy 
praise is mine, and I do not deem my tongue capable of 
expressing what I feel. As the poet says : 

"/ desired my beloved^ but when I saw him 
I was dumbfounded and possessed neither tongue nor eye 



The Apostle said : " Good manners (Jiusn al-adab) are a part 
of faith." And he also said : " My Lord corrected me (addabanf) 
and gave me an excellent correction." You must know that 
the seemliness and decorum of all religious and temporal 
affairs depends on rules of discipline (addb\ and that every 
station in which the various classes of mankind are placed has 
its own particular rule. Among men good manners consist 
in the observance of virtue (inuruwwaf) ; as regards religion 
they consist in the observance of the Apostolic custom (sunna^ ; 
and as regards love they consist in the observance of respect 
(hurmat). These three categories are connected with each 
other, because one who is without virtue does not comply with 
the custom of the Apostle, and whoever fails to comply with 
the custom of the Apostle does not observe due respect, jn 
matters of conduct the observance of discipline is the result 
of reverence for the object of desire ; and reverence for God 
and His ordinances springs from fear of God (taqwd). Anyone 
wrib disrespectfully tramples on the reverence that is due to 
the evidences of God has no part or lot in the Path of 
Sufiism ; and in no case are rules of discipline neglected by 
seekers of God, because they are habituated to such rules, 
and habit is second nature. It is impossible that a living 
creature should be divested of its natural humours : therefore, 
so long as the human body remains in existence men are 
bound to keep the rules of obedience to God, sometimes 
with effort (takalluf) and sometimes without effort : with effort 
when they are sober , but when they are intoxicated God 


sees that they keep the rules. A person who neglects the rules 
cannot possibly be a saint, for " good manners are characteristic 
of those whom God loves". When God vouchsafes a miracle 
to anyone, it is a proof that He causes him to fulfil the duties 
of religion. This is opposed to the view of some heretics, 
who assert that when a man is overpowered by love he is no 
longer subject to obedience. I will set forth this matter more 
lucidly in another place. 

Rules of discipline are of three kinds. Firstly, those which 
are observed towards God in unification (tawhid). Here the 
rule is that one must guard one s self in public and private 
from any disrespectful act, and behave as though one were 
in the presence of a king. It is related in the genuine 
Traditions that one day the Apostle was sitting with his legs 
drawn in (pdy gird). Gabriel came and said : "O Muhammad, 
sit as servants do in their master s presence." Harith Muhasibi 
is said never to have leaned his back against a wall, by day 
or night, for forty years, and never to have sat except on his 
knees. On being asked why he gave himself so much trouble 
he replied : " I am ashamed to sit otherwise than as a servant 
while I am contemplating God." I, All b. Uthman al-Jullabi, 
was once in a village called Kamand, 1 at the extremity of 
Khurasan. There I saw a well-known and very excellent 
man, whose name is Adib-i Kamandi. For twenty years 
he had never sat down except in his prayers, when he was 
pronouncing the profession of faith. I inquired the reason 
of this, and he answered that he had not yet attained such 
a degree that he should sit while contemplating God. Abu 
Yazi d was asked by what means he had gained so high 
spiritual rank. He answered : " By good companionship with 
God," i.e. by keeping the rules of discipline and behaving in 
private as in public. All human beings ought to learn from 
Zulaykha how to observe good manners in contemplating 
the object of their adoration, for when she was alone with 
Joseph and besought him to consent to her wishes, she first 

1 Kumand, according to Nafahat^ No. 379. 


covered up the face of her idol in order that it might not 
witness her want of propriety. And when the Apostle was 
borne to Heaven at the Ascension, his observance of discipline 
restrained him from paying any regard either to this world 
or to the next. 

The second kind of discipline is that which is observed towards 
one s self in one s conduct, and which consists in avoiding, 
when one is in one s own company, any act that would be 
improper in the company of one s fellow-creatures or of God, 
e.g., one must not utter an untruth by declaring one s self to 
be what one is not, and one must eat little in order that one 
may seldom go to the lavatory, and one must not look at 
anything which it is not decent for others to see. It is related 
that Ali never beheld his own nakedness, because he was 
ashamed to see in himself what he was forbidden to see in 

The third kind of discipline is that which is observed jn 
social intercourse with one s fellow-creatures. The most 
important rule for such intercourse is to act well, and to 
observe the custom of the Apostle at home and abroad. 

These three sorts of discipline cannot be separated from one 
another. Now I will set them forth in detail as far as possible, 
in order that you and all my readers may follow them more 

Chapter on Companionship and matters connected therewith. 

God hath said : " Verily, the merciful God will bestozv love on 
those who believe and do good works " (Kor. xix, 96), i.e., He 
will love them and cause them to be loved, because they do 
their duty towards their brethren and prefer them to themselves. 
And the Apostle said : " Three things render thy brother s 
love toward thee sincere : that thou shouldst salute him when 
thou meetest him, and that thou shouldst make room for 
him when he sits beside thee, and that thou shouldst call 
him by the name that he likes best." And God said, " The 
believers are brethren : tJierefore reconcile your two brethren " 


(Kor. xlix, 10) ; and the Apostle said, " Get many brethren, 
for your Lord is bashful (Jiayi) and kind : He will be ashamed 
to punish His servant in the presence of his brethren on the 
Day of Resurrection." 

But companionship must be for God s sake, not for the 
purpose of gratifying the lower soul or any selfish interest, 
in order that a man may be divinely rewarded for observing 
the rules of companionship. Malik b. Dinar said to his son- 
in-law, Mughira b. Shu ba : " If you_driye. no religious benefit 
from a brother and friend, abandon his society, that you may 
be saved," i.e. associate cither with one who is superior or with 
one who is inferior to yourself. In the former case you will 
derive benefit from him, and in the latter case the benefit will 
be mutual, since each will learn something from the other. 
Hence the Apostle said, " It is the whole of piety to instruct 
one who is ignorant ; " and Yahya b. Mu adh (al-Razi) said, 
" He is a bad friend-to whom you need to say, Remember me 
in thy prayers " (becaose^a man ought always to pray for 
anyone with whom he has associated even for a moment) ; and 
"Tie ~is a bad friend with whom you cannot live except on con 
dition of flattering him (because candour is involved in the 
principle of companionship) ; and he is a bad friend to whom 
you need to apologize for a fault that you have committed 
(because apologies are made by strangers, and in companionship 
it is wrong to be on such terms). The Apostle said : "A man 
follows the religion of his friend : take heed, therefore, with 
whom you form a friendship." If he associates with the good, 
their society will make him good, although he is bad ; and if 
he associates with the wicked, he will be wicked, although he is 
good, because he will be consenting to their wickedness. It 
is related that a man said, while he was circumambulating the 
Ka ba, " O God, make my brethren good ! " On being asked 
why he did not implore a boon for himself in such a place, he 
replied : " I have brethren to whom I shall return ; if they are 
good, I shall be good with them, and if they are wicked, I shall 
be" wicked with them." 


The Sufi Shaykhs demand from each other the fulfilment of 
the duties of companionship and enjoin their disciples to require 
the same, so that amongst them companionship has become 
like a religious obligation. The Shaykhs have written many 
books explaining the rules of Sufi companionship ; e.g., Junayd 
composed a work entitled Tashik al-irddat} and Ahmad b. 
Khadruya of Balkh another, entitled Al-Ri^dyat bi-huqtiq* 
Allah? and Muhammad b. All of Tirmidh another, entitled 
A dab al-muridin.^ Other exhaustive treatises on this subject 
have been written by Abu 1-Qasim al-Hakim, 5 Abu Bakr 
al-Warraq, Sahl b. Abdallah (al-Tustari), Abu ( Abd al-Rahman 
al-Sulami, and Master Abu 1-Qasim Qushayri. All those 
writers are great authorities on Sufiism, but I desire that my 
book should enable anyone who possesses it to dispense with 
other books and, as I said in the preface, be sufficient in itself 
for you and for all students of the Sufi doctrine. I will now 
classify in separate chapters their various rules of discipline 
relating to conduct. 

Chapter concerning the Rules of Companionship. 

Since you have perceived that the most important thing for 
the novice is companionship, the fulfilment of its obligations is 
necessarily incumbent on him. Solitude is fatal to the novice, 
for the Apostle said, " Satan Is with the solitary, but he is 
farther away from two who are together;" and God hath said, 
" TJiere is no private discourse among tJtree persons btit God is tJie 
fourtJi of them " (Kor. Iviii, 8). I have read in the Anecdotes 
that a disciple of Junayd imagined that he had attained to the 
degree of perfection, and that it was better for him to be alone. 
Accordingly he went into retirement and withdrew from the 
society of his brethren. At nightfall a camel used to appear, 
and he was told that it would take him to Paradise ; on 

1 " The Rectification of Discipleship." 

3 So all the texts, instead of the correct li-hnqiiq. 

3 " The Observance of what is due to God." 

4 " Rules of Conduct for Disciples. 

5 Nafahdt, No. 129. 


mounting it, he was conveyed to a pleasant demesne, with 
beautiful inhabitants and delicious viands and flowing streams, 
where he stayed till dawn ; then he fell asleep, and on waking 
found himself at the door of his cell. These experiences filled 
him with pride and he could not refrain from boasting of them. 
When Junayd heard the story he hastened to the disciple s cell, 
and having received from him a full account of what had 
passed, said to him : " To-night, when you come to that place, 
remember to say thrice, There is no strength or power but in 
God, the High, the Great. " The same night he was carried 
off as usual, and though in his heart he did not believe Junayd, i 
by way of trial he repeated those words thrice. The crew I 
around him shrieked and vanished, and he found himself seated ; 
on a dunghill in the midst of rotten bones. He acknowledged 
hfc fault and repented and returned to companionship. 

The principle of the Sufis in companionship is that they 
should treat everyone according~to~his degree. Thus they treat 
old men with respect, like fathers ; those of their own sort with 
agreeable familiarity, like brothers ; and young men with 
affection, like sons. They renounce hate, envy, and malice, 
and do not withhold sincere admonition from anyone. In 
companionship it is not permissible to speak evil of the absent, 
or to behave dishonestly, or to deny one another on account 
of any word or deed, because a companionship which is begun 
for God s sake should not be cut short by human words or acts. 
The author says: "I asked the Grand Shaykh Abu 1-Qasim 
Gurgani what obligations were involved in companionship. 
He replied : * It involves this, that you should not seek your 
own interest ; all the evils of companionship arise from selfish- 
ness. Scjijude~ls better for a selfish man. He who neglects 
his own interests and looks after the interests of his companion 
hits the mark in companionship. " A certain dervish relates 
as follows : " Once I set out from Kufa to visit Mecca. On 
the way I met Ibrahim Khawwas and begged him to let me 
accompany him. He said : In companionship it is necessary 
that one should command and the other should obey : which 


do you choose ? I answered : You be the commander. He 
said : Now do riot fail to comply with my orders. When we 
arrived at the halting-place, he bade me sit down, and himself 
drew water from the well and, since the weather was cold, he 
gathered sticks and kindled a fire, and whenever I attempted 
to do anything he told me to sit down. At nightfall it began 
to rain heavily. He took off his patched frock and held it over 
my head all night. I was ashamed, but could not say a word 
on account of the condition imposed on me. When morning 
came, I said : To-day it is my turn to be commander. He 
said : Very well. As soon as we reached the halting-place, 
he began to perform the same menial offices as before, and on 
my telling him not to disobey my orders he retorted that it 
was an act of disobedience to let one s self be served by one s 
commander. He continued to behave in this way until we 
arrived at Mecca ; then I felt so ashamed that I fled from him. 
He espied me, however, at Mina and said to me : l O son, when 
you associate with dervishes see that you treat them in the 
same fashion as I treated you. " 

Dervishes are divided into two classes : residents (muqtmdn) 
and travellers (inusdfirdii). According to the custom of the 
Shaykhs, the travelling dervishes should regard the resident 
ones as superior to themselves, because they go to and fro in 
their own interest, while the resident dervishes have settled 
down in the service of God : in the former is the sign of search, 
*K in the latter is the token of attainment ; hence those who have 
found and settled down are superior to those who are still 
seeking. Similarly, the resident dervishes ought to regard 
the travelling ones as superior to themselves, because they are 
laden with worldly encumbrances, while the travelling dervishes 
are unencumbered and detached from the world. Again, old 
men should prefer to themselves the young, who are newer to 
the world and whose sins are less numerous ; and young 
men should prefer to themselves the old, who have outstripped 
them in devotion and service. 



Culture (adab) really means "the collection of virtuous 
qualities ", though in ordinary language anyone is called 
" cultured " (adib) who is acquainted with Arabic philology and 
grammar. But the Sufi s define culture as "dwelling with praise 
worthy qualities ", and say that it means " to act with propriety 
towards God in public and private " ; if you act thus, you are 
" cultured ", even if you are a foreigner (i.e. a non-Arab), and if 
not, you are the opposite. Those who have knowledge are in 
every case more honoured than those who have intelligence. 
A certain Shaykh was asked : " What docs culture involve ? " 
He said : "I will answer you by quoting a definition which I have 
heard, If you speak, your speech will be sincere, and if you act, 
your actions will be true. " An excellent distinction has been 
Iriade by Shaykh Abu Nasr Sarraj, the author of the Linnet, 
who says : "As regards culture (adab\ there are three classes 
of mankind. Firstly, worldlings, whose culture mainly consists 
in eloquence and rhetoric and learning and knowledge of the 
nightly conversations (asmdr 1 } of kings and Arabic poetry. 
Secondly, the religious, whose culture chiefly consists in 
disciplining the lower soul and correcting the limbs and 
observing the legal ordinances and renouncing lusts. Thirdly, 
the elect (i.e. the Sufis), whose culture consists for the most part 
in spiritual purity and keeping watch over their hearts and 
fulfilling their promises and guarding the state in which they 
are and paying no heed to extraneous suggestions and behaving 
with propriety in the positions of search (for God), in the states 
of presence (with Gocl), and in the stations of proximity (to 
God)." This saying is comprehensive. The different matters 
which it includes are discussed in several places in this book. 

Chapter on the Rules of Companionship affecting Residents. 

Dervishes who choose to reside, and not to travel, are bound 
to observe the following rules of discipline. When a traveller 

1 Another reading is asmd, "names," but I find asmdr in the MS. of the Kitdb 
al-Luma 1 - belonging to Mr. A. G. Ellis, where this passage occurs on f. 63^. 


comes to them, they must meet him joyfully and receive him 
with respect and treat him like an honoured guest and freely set 
before him whatever food they have, modelling their behaviour 
upon that of Abraham. They must not inquire whence he has 
come or whither he is going or what is his name, but must deem 
that he has come from God and is going to God and that his 
name is " servant of God " ; then they must see whether he 
desires to be alone or in company : if he prefers to be alone, 
they must give him an empty room, and if he prefers company, 
they must consort with him unceremoniously in a friendly and 
sociable manner. When he lays his head on his pillow at night 
the resident dervish ought to offer to wash his feet, but if the 
traveller should not allow him to do this and should say that 
he is not accustomed to it, the resident must not insist, for fear 
of causing him annoyance. Next day, he must offer him a bath 
and take him to the cleanest bath available and save his clothes 
from (becoming dirty in) the latrines of the bath, and not permit 
a strange attendant to wait upon him, but wait upon him 
zealously in order to make him clean of all stains, and scrape 
(bikJidrad) his back and rub his knees and the soles of his feet 
and his hands : more than this he is not obliged to do. And 
if the resident dervish has sufficient means, he should provide 
a new garment for his guest ; otherwise, he need not trouble 
himself, but he should clean his guest s clothes so that he may 
put them on when he comes out of the bath. If the traveller 
remains two or three days, he should be invited to visit any 
spiritual director or Imam who may be in the town, but he 
must not be compelled to pay such visits against his inclination, 
because those who seek God are not always masters of their 
own feelings ; e.g., Ibrahim Khawwas on one occasion refused 
to accompany Khidr, who desired his society, for he was un 
willing that his feelings should be engaged by anyone except 
God. Certainly it is not right that a resident dervish should 
take a traveller to salute worldly men or to attend their enter 
tainments, sick-beds, and funerals ; and if a resident hopes to 
make travellers an instrument of mendicancy (dlat-i gadd t) and 


conduct them from house to house, it would be better for him 
to refrain from serving them instead of subjecting them to 
humiliation. Among all the troubles and inconveniences that 
I have suffered when travelling none was worse than to be 
carried off time after time by ignorant servants and impudent 
dervishes of this sort and conducted from the house of such and 
such a Khwaja to the house of such and such a Dihqan, while, 
though apparently complaisant, I felt a great dislike to go with 
them. I then vowed that, if ever I became resident, I would 
not behave towards travellers with this impropriety. Nothing 
derived from associating with ill-mannered persons is more 
useful than the lesson that you must endure their disagreeable 
behaviour and must not imitate it. On the other hand, if 
a travelling dervish becomes at his ease (inunbasif) with a 
resident and stays for some time and makes a worldly demand, 
the resident is bound immediately to give him what he wants ; 
but if the traveller is an impostor and low-minded, the resident 
must not act meanly in order to comply with his impossible 
requirements, for this is not the way of those who are devoted 
to God. What business has a dervish to associate with devotees 
if he needs worldly things? Let him go to the market and buy 
and sell, or let him be a soldier at the sultan s court. It is 
related that, while Junayd and his pupils were sitting occupied 
in some ascetic discipline, a travelling dervish came in. They 
exerted themselves to entertain him and placed food before 
him. He said : " 1 want such and such a thing besides this." 
Junayd said to him : "You must go to the bazaar, for you are 
a man of tTieTmarket, not of the mosque and the cell." Once 
I~~set ouT "from Damascus with two dervishes to visit Ibn 
al-Mu alla, 1 who was living in the country near Ramla. On 
the way we arranged that each of us should think of the 
matter concerning which we were in doubt, in order that that 
venerable director might tell us our secret thoughts and solve 
our difficulties. I said to myself: " I will desire of him the 

1 I. Ibn al- Ala. 


poems and intimate supplications (inundjdf] of Husayn b. Mansiir 
(al-Hallaj)." One of my companions said, " I will desire him 
to pray that my disease of the spleen (tihdl) may become 
better;" and the other said, "I will wish for sweetmeat of 
different colours" (Jialwd-yi sdbtini\ As soon as we arrived, 
Ibn al-Mu alla commanded that a manuscript of the poems and 
supplications of Husayn should be presented to me, and laid his 
hand on the belly of the invalid so that his illness was assuaged, 
and said to the other dervish : " Parti-coloured sweetmeat is 
eaten by soldiers (fawdndit) ; you are dressed as a saint, and the 
dress of a saint does not accord with the appetite of a soldier. 
Choose one or the other." 

In short, the resident is not obliged to pay attention Jto-the 
travelling dervish unless the latter s attention is paid entirely 
to God. If he is devoted to his own interests, it is impossible 
that another should help him to gratify his selfishness, for 
dervishes are guides (i-dJibardn), not brigands (rdhburdn\ to 
each other. So long as anyone perseveres in a selfish demand, 
his friend ought to resist it, but when he renounces it, then his 
friend ought to satisfy it. In the Traditions of the Apostle 
it is related that he made a brotherhood between Salman 
(al-Farisi) and Abu Dharr Ghifari, both of whom were leading 
men among the People of the Veranda (aJil-i suffd) and eminent 
spiritualists. One day, when Salman came to visit Abu Dharr 
at his house, Abu Dharr s wife complained to him that her 
husband neither ate by day nor slept by night. Salman told 
her to fetch some food, and said to Abu Dharr : " O brother, 
I desire thee to eat, since this fasting is not incumbent on thee." 
Abu Dharr complied. And at night Salman said : " O brother, 
I beg thee to sleep : thy body and thy wife have a claim upon 
thee, as well as thy Lord." Next day Abu Dharr went to the 
Apostle, who said : " I say the same thing as Salman said 
yesterday : verily, thy body has a claim upon thee." Inasmuch 
as Abu Dharr had renounced his selfish pleasures, Salman 
persuaded him to gratify them. Whatever you do on this 
principle is sound and impregnable. Once, in the territories 


of Iraq, I was restlessly occupied (tdpdki mikardani} in seeking 
wealth and squandering it, and I had run largely into debt. 
Everyone who wanted anything turned to me, and I was 
troubled and at a loss to know how I could accomplish their 
desires. An eminent person wrote to me as follows : " Beware 
lest you distract your mind from God by satisfying the wishes 
of those whose minds are engrossed in vanity. If you find 
anyone whose mind is nobler than your own, you may justly^ 
distract your mind in order to give peace to his. Otherwise, 
dojiot distract yourself. sin <^nH k sufficient for His_seryants." 
These words brought me instant relief. 

Chapter concerning their Rules in Travel. 

When a dervish chooses to travel, not to reside, he ought to 
observe the following rules. In the first place, he must travel 
for God s sake, not for pleasure, and as he journeys outwardly, 
so he should flee inwardly from his sensual affections ; and he 
must always keep himself in a state of purity and not neglect 
his devotions ; and^his object in travelling must be either 
pilgrimage or war (against infidels) or to see a (holy) site or to 
derive instruction or to seek knowledge or to visit a venerable 
person, a Shaykh, or the tomb of a saint ; otherwise his journey 
will be faulty. And he cannot do without a patched frock and 
a prayer-rug and a bucket and a rope and a pair of shoes 
(kafsJi} or clogs (na layri) and a staff : the patched frock to 
cover his nakedness, the prayer-rug to pray on, the bucket to 
cleanse himself with, and the staff to protect him from attacks 
and for other purposes. Before stepping on the prayer-rug he 
must put on his shoes or clogs in a state of purity. If anyone 
carries other articles, for the sake of keeping the Sunna 
(Apostolic custom), such as a comb and nail-scissors and 
a needle and a little box of antimony (inukhula), he does 
right. If, however, anyone provides himself with more utensils 
than those which have been mentioned, we have to consider in 
what station he is : if he is a novice every article will be 
a shackle and a stumbling-block and a veil to him, and will 


afford him the means of showing self-conceit, but if he is 
a firmly grounded adept he may carry all these articles and 
more. I heard the following story from Shaykh Abu Muslim 
Fan s b. Ghalib al-Farisi. " One day (he said) I paid a visit 
to Shaykh Abu Sa i d b. Abi 1-Khayr Fadlallah b. Muhammad. 
I found him sleeping on a couch with four cushions (takhtt 
cJiahdr-bdlisJi}, one of his legs thrown across the other ; and he 
was dressed in fine Egyptian linen (diqqi Misri\ My garment 
was so dirty that it resembled leather, and my body was 
emaciated by austerities. On looking at Abu Sa i d a feeling 
of scepticism overcame me. I said to myself: He is a dervish, 
and so am I, yet he is in all this luxury and I in this sore 
tribulation. He immediately divined my thoughts and was 
aware of my vainglory. O Abu Muslim, said he, in what 
diwan have you read that a self-conceited man is a dervish ? 
Since I see God in all things, God sets me on a throne, and 
since you see yourself in everything, God keeps you in 
affliction : my lot is contemplation, while yours is mortification. 
These are two stations on the Way to God, but God is far aloof 
from them both, and a dervish is dead to all stations and free 
from all states. On hearing these words my senses forsook 
me, and the whole world grew dark in my eyes. When I came 
to myself I repented, and he accepted my repentance. Then 
I said : * O Shaykh, give me leave to depart, for I cannot bear 
the sight of thee. He answered, * O Abu Muslim, you speak 
the truth ; then he quoted this verse : 

f TJiat ivliicli my ear was unable to hear by report 
My eye beheld actually all at once? " 

The travelling dervish must always observe the custom of 
the Apostle, and when he comes to the house of a resident 
he should enter his presence respectfully and greet him ; and 
he should first take off the shoe on his left foot, as the Apostle 
did ; and when he puts his shoes on, he should first put on 
the shoe belonging to his right foot ; and he should wash his 
right foot before his left ; and he should perform two bowings 


of the head by way of salutation (in prayer) and then occupy 
himself with attending to the (religious) duties incumbent on 
dervishes. He must not in any case interfere with the residents, 
or_ behave immoderately towards anyone, or talk of the hard 
ships which he may have suffered in travelling, or discourse 
on theology, or tell anecdotes, or recite traditions in company, 
for all this is a sign of self-conceit. He must be patient when 
he is vexed by fools and must tolerate their irksomeness for 
God s sake, for in patience there are many blessings. If 
residents or their servants bid him go with them to salute or 
visit the townspeople, he must acquiesce if he can, but in his 
heart he ought to dislike paying such marks of respect to 
worldlings, although he should excuse the behaviour of his 
brethren who act thus. He_must take__care not to trouble 
them by making any unreasonable demand, and he must not 
drag them to the court of high officials with the purpose of 
seeking an idle pleasure for himself. Travelling, as well as 
resident, dervishes must always, in companionship, endeavour 
to please God, and must have a good belief in each other, and 
not speak ill of any comrade face to face with him or behind 
his back, because true mystics in regarding the act see the 
Agent, and inasmuch as every human being, of whatever 
description he may be faulty or faultless, veiled or illuminated 
belongs to God and is His creature, to quarrel with a human 
act is to quarrel with the Divine Agent. 

Chapter concerning their Rules in Eating. 

Men cannot dispense with nourishment, but moral virtue 
requires that they should not eat or drink in excess. Shafi i 

" He who thinks about that which goes into his belly 
is worth only that which comes out of it? Nothing is more 
j hurtful to a novico-m^gufiism than eating too much. I have 
" read in the Anecdotes that Abu Yazid was asked why he 
praised hunger so highly. He answered : " Because if Pharaoh 
had been hungry he would not have said, c I am your Supreme 
Lord, and if Qarun (Korah) had been hungry he would not 


have been rebellious." Tha laba ] was praised by all so long 
as he was hungry, but when he ate his fill he displayed 
hypocrisy. Sahl b. Abdallah (al-Tustari) said : "In my judg 
ment, a belly full of wine is better than one full of lawful food." 
On being asked the reason of this he said : " When a man s 
belly is filled with wine, his intellect is stupefied and the 
flame of lust is quenched, and people are secure from his 
hand and tongue ; but when his belly is filled with lawful 
food he desires foolishness, and his lust waxes great and his 
lower soul rises to seek her pleasures." The Shaykhs have 
said, describing the Sufis : " They eat like sick men, and sleep 
like shipwrecked men, and speak like one whose children 
have died." 

It is an obligatory rule that they should not eat alone, but 
should unselfishly share their food with one another ; and 
when seated at table they should not be silent, and should 
begin by saying "In God s name"; and they should not put 
anything down or lift anything up in such a way as to offend 
their comrades, and they should dip the first mouthful in salt, 
and should deal fairly by their friends. Sahl b. Abdallah 
(al-Tustari) was asked about the meaning of the verse : " Verily 
God enjoins justice and beneficence " (Kor. xvi, 92). He replied : 
"Justice consists in dealing fairly with one s friend in regard 
to a morsel of food, and beneficence consists in deeming 
him to have a better claim to that morsel than yourself." My 
Shaykh used to say : " I am astonished at the impostor who 
declares that he has renounced the world, and is anxious 
about a morsel of food." Furthermore, the Sufi should eat 
with his right hand and should look only at his own morsel, 
and while eating he should not drink unless he is extremely 
thirsty, and if he drinks he should drink only as much as 
will moisten his liver.^ He should not eat large mouthfuls, 
and should chew his food well and not make haste ; otherwise 
he will be acting contrary to the custom of the Apostle, and 

1 See Bayclawi on Kor. ix, 76. 


will probably suffer from indigestion (tukhama). When he 
has finished eating, he should give praise to God and wash 
his hands. If two or three or more persons belonging to 
a community of dervishes go to a dinner and eat something 
without informing their brethren, according to some Shaykhs 
this is unlawful and constitutes a breach of companionship, 
but some hold it to be allowable when a number of persons 
act thus in union with each other, and some allow it in the 
case of a single person, on the ground that he is not obliged 
to deal fairly when he is alone but when he is in company ; 
consequently, being alone, he is relieved of the obligations 
of companionship and is not responsible for his act. Now, 
the most important principle in this matter is that the invitation 
of a dervish should not be refused, and that the invitation of 
a rich man should not be accepted. Dervishes ought not to 
go to the houses of rich men or beg anything of them : such 
conduct is demoralizing for Sufis, because worldlings are not 
on confidential terms (inahrcwi) with the dervish. Much 

wealth, however, does not make a man " rich " (tiunyd-ddr\ nor 
docs little wealth make him "poor". No one who acknowledges 
that poverty is better than riches is " rich ", even though he 
be a king ; and anyone who disbelieves in poverty is " rich ", 
even though he be reduced to want. When a dervish attends 
a party he should not constrain himself either to eat or not 
to eat, but should behave in accordance with his feelings at the 
time (bar hukm-i waqf). If the host is a congenial person 
(mahrani), it is right that a married man (inutrf ahhil) should 
condone a fault ; and if the host is uncongenial, it is not allowable 
to go to his house. But in any case it is better not to commit 
a fault, for Sahl b. Abdallah (al-Tustari) says : " Backsliding 
is abasement " (al-zillat dhillaf). 

Chapter concerning their Rules in Walking. 
God hath said : "-And the servants of the Merciful are they 
who walk on the earth meekly " (Kor. xxv, 64). Thej>eeker of 
God, as he walks, should know at each step he makes whether 


that step is against God or of God : if it is against God, he 
r^ must ask for pardon, and if it is of God, he must persevere 
in it, that it may be increased. One day Dawud Ta i had taken 
some medicine. They said to him : " Go into the court of this 
house for a little while, in order that the good result of the 
medicine may become apparent." He replied : " I am ashamed 
that on the Day of Judgment God should ask me why I made 
a few steps for my own selfish pleasure. God Almighty hath 
said : And their feet shall bear witness of that which they 
used to commit* (Kor. xxxvi, 65). Therefore the dervish 
should walk circumspectly, with his head bowed in meditation 
(imirdqabat), and not look in any direction but in front. If any 
person meets him on the way, he must not draw himself back 
from him for the sake of saving his dress, for all Moslems are 
clean, and their clothes too ; such an act is mere conceit and 
self-ostentation. If, however, the person who meets him is an 
unbeliever, or manifestly filthy, he may turn from him un- 
i obtrusively. And when he walks with a number of people, he 
n must not attempt to go in front of them, since that is an excess 
II of pride; nor must he attempt to go behind them, since that 
f is an excess of humility, and humility of which one is conscious 
is essentially pride. He must keep his clogs and shoes as clean 
as he can by day in order that God, through the blessings 
thereof, may keep his clothes (clean) by night. And when one 
or more dervishes are with anyone, he should not stop on the 
way (to talk) with any person, nor should he tell that person to 
V wait for him. He should walk quietly and should not hurry, 
else his walk will resemble that of the covetous ; nor should he 
walk slowly, for then his walk will resemble that of the proud ; 
and he should take steps of the full length (gdm-i tamdm nihad}. 
In fine, the walk of the seeker of God should always be of such 
a description that if anyone should ask him whither he is going 
he should be able to answer decisively : " Verily, I am going to 
my Lord : He will direct me" (Kor. xxxvii, 97). Otherwise his 
walking is a curse to him, because right steps (khatawdf) proceed 
from right thoughts (khatardi) : accordingly if a man s thoughts 


are concentrated on God, his feet will follow his thoughts. It 
is related that Abu Yazfd said : " The inconsiderate walk 
(raivish-i be uiurdqabaf) of a dervish is a sign that he is heedless 
(of God), because all that exists is attained in two steps : one 
step away from self-interest and the other step firmly planted 
on the commandments of God." The walk of the seeker is 
a sign that he is traversing a certain distance, and since proximity 
to God is not a matter of distance, what can the seeker do but 
cut off his feet in the abode of rest ? 

CJiapter concerning their Rules of Sleeping in travel and at Jiome., 

There is a great difference of opinion among the Shaykhs on 
this subject. Some hold that it is _nqt permissible for a novice 
to sleep except when he is overpowered by slumber, for the 
Apostle said : " Sleep is the brother of Death," and inasmuch as 
life is a benefit conferred by God, whereas death is an affliction, 
the former must be more excellent than the latter. And it is 
related that Shibli said : " God looked upon me and said, He^ 
who sleeps is heedless, and he who is heedless is veiled. " 
Others, again, hold that a novice may sleep at will and even 
constrain himself to sleep after having performed the Divine 
commands, for the Apostle said : " The Pen does not record 
(evil actions) against the sleeper until he awakes, ( or against 
the boy until he reaches puberty, or against the madman until 
he recovers his wits." When a man is asleep, people are secure 
from his mischief and he is deprived of his personal volition and 
his lower soul is prevented from gaining its desires and the 
Recording Angels cease to write ;_his tongue makes no false 
assertion and speaks no evil of the absent, and his will places 
no hope in conceit and ostentation ; " he does not possess for 
himself either bane or boon or death or life or resurrection." 
Hence Ibn Abbas says : " Nothing is more grievous to Ibh s 
than_a sinner s sleep ; whenever the sinner sleeps, Iblis says, , 
When will he wake and rise up that he may disobey God?" 
This was a point of controversy between Junayd and All b. 


Sahl al-Isfahani. The latter wrote to Junayd a very fine epistle, 
which I have heard, to the effect that sleep is heedlessness and 
rest is a turning away from God : the lover must not sleep or 
rest by day or by .night, otherwise he will lose the object of his 
desire and will forget himself and his state and will fail to attain 
to God, as God said to David, " O David, he who pretends to 
love Me and sleeps when night covers him is a liar." Junayd 
said in his reply to that letter : " Our wakefulness consists in 
our acts of devotion to God, whereas our sleep is God s act" 
towards us : that which proceeds from God to us without our 
will is more perfect than that which proceeds from us to God 
with our will. Sleep is a gift which God bestows on those who 
love Him." This question depends on the doctrine of sobriety 
and intoxication, which has been fully discussed above. It is 
remarkable that Junayd, who was himself a " sober" man, here 
supports intoxication. Seemingly, he was enraptured at the 
time when he wrote and his temporary state may have expressed 
itself by his tongue ; or, again, it may be that the opposite is 
the case and that sleep is actually sobriety, while wakefulness 
is actually intoxication, because sleep is an attribute of humanity, 
and a man is " sober " so long as he is in the shadow of his 
attributes : wakefulness, on the other hand, is an attribute of 
God, and when a man transcends his own attribute he is 
enraptured. I have met with a number of Shaykhs who agree 
with Junayd in preferring sleep to wakefulness, because the 
visions of the saints and of most of the apostles occurred during 
sleep. And the Apostle said : " Verily, God takes pride in the 
servant who sleeps while he prostrates himself in prayer ; and > 
He says to His angels, Behold My servant, whose spirit i? 
in the abode of secret conversation (najwa} while his body is on 
the carpet of worship. " The Apostle also said : " Whoever 
sleeps in a state of purification, his spirit is permitted to circum 
ambulate the Throne and prostrate itself before God." I have 
read in the Anecdotes that Shah Shuja of Kirman kept awake 
for forty years. One night he fell asleep and saw God, and 
afterwards he used always to sleep in hope of seeing the same 


vision. This is the meaning of the verse of Qays of the Banu 
Amir l 

" Truly I wish to sleep, although I am not drowsy, 

That perchance tJiy bsloved image may encounter mine" 
Other Shaykhs whom I have seen agree with All b. Sahl 
in preferring wakefulness to sleep, because the apostles received 
their revelations and the saints their miracles while they were 
awake. One of the Shaykhs says : "If there were any good 
in sleep there would be sleep in Paradise," i.e., if sleep were 
the cause of love and proximity to God, it would follow that 
there must be sleep in Paradise, which is the dwelling-place 
of proximity ; since neither sleep nor any veil is in Paradise, 
we know that sleep is a veil. Those who are fond of subtleties 
(arbdb-i Idtd if} say that when Adam fell asleep in Paradise 
Eve came forth from his left side, and Eve was the source of 
all his afflictions. They say also that when Abraham told 
Ishmael that he had been ordered in a dream to sacrifice him, 
Ishmael replied: "This is the punishment due to one who 
sleeps and forgets his beloved. If you had not fallen asleep 
you would not have been commanded to sacrifice your son." 
It is related that Shibli every night used to place in front of 
him a bowl of salt water and a needle for applying collyrium, 
and whenever he was about to fall asleep he would dip the 
needle in the salt water and draw it along his eyelids. I, All 
b. Uthman al-Jullabi, have met with a spiritual director who 
used to sleep after finishing the performance of his obligatory 
acts of devotion ; and I have seen Shaykh Ahmad Samarqandi, 
who was living at Bukhara : during forty years he had never 
slept at night, but he used to sleep a little in the daytime. 
This question turns on the view taken of life and death. 
Those who prefer death to life must prefer sleep to waking, 
while those who prefer life to death must prefer waking to 
sleep. Merit belongs, not to the man who forces himself to 
keep awake, but to the man who is kept awake. ^The Apostle, 
whom God chose and whom He raised to the highest rank, 

1 Generally known as Majnun, the lover of Layla. See Brockelmann, i, 48. 

2 A 


did not force himself either to sleep or to wake. God com 
manded him, saying: "Rise and pray during the night, except 
a small part : half thereof or less" (Kor. Ixxiii, 2-3). Similarly, 
merit does not belong to the man who forces himself to sleep, 
but only to the man who is put to sleep. The Men ofj:he 
Cave did not constrain themselves to sleep or to wake, but 
God threw slumber upon them and nourished them without 
their will. When a man attains to such a degree that his will 
no longer exists, and his hand is withdrawn from everything, 
and his thoughts are averted from all except God, it matters 
not whether he is asleep or awake : in either case he is full 
of honour. Now, as regards the sleep of the novice, he ought 
to deem that his first sleep is his last, and repent of his sins 
and satisfy all who have a claim against him ; and he ought 
to perform a comely purification and sleep on his right side, 
facing the qibla ; and having set his worldly affairs in order, 
he ought to give thanks for the blessing of Islam, and make 
a vow that if he should wake again he will not return to sin. 
One who has set his affairs in order while he is awake has 
no fear of sleep or of death. A well-known story is told of 
a certain spiritual director, that he used to visit an Imam 
who was engrossed in maintaining his dignity and was a prey 
to self-conceit, and that he used to say to him : " O So-and-so, 
you must die." This offended the Imam, for "why (he said) 
should this beggar be always repeating these words to me?" 
One day he answered : " I will begin to-morrow." Next day 
when the spiritual director came in the Imam said to him : 
" O So-and-so, you must die." He put down his prayer-rug 
and spread it out, and laid his head on it and exclaimed, 
" I am dead," and immediately yielded up his soul. The 
Imam took warning, and perceived that this spiritual director 
had been bidding him prepare for death, as he himself had 
done. My Shaykh used to enjoin his disciples not to sleep 
unless overpowered by slumber, and when they had once 
awaked not to fall asleep again, since a second sleep is unlawful 
and unprofitable to those who seek God. 



Chapter concerning their Rules in Speech and Silence. 

God hath commanded His servants to speak well, e.g. to 
acknowledge His lordship and to praise Him and to call 
mankind to His court Speech is a great blessing conferred 
on Man by God, and thereby is Man distinguished from all 
other things. Some interpreters of the text, " We have honoured 
the sons of Adam " (Kor. xvii, 72), explain it as meaning " by 
the gift of speech ". Nevertheless! in speech there are also 
great evils, for the Apostle said : " The worst that I fear for 
my people is the tongue." In short, speech is like wine : it 
intoxicates the mind, and those who begin to have a taste 
for it cannot abstain from it. Accordingly, the Sufis, knowing 
that speech is harmful, never spoke except when it was 
considered the beginning and end of their 

discourse ; if the whole was for God s sake, they spoke ; other 
wise they kept silence, because they firmly believed that God 
knows our secret thoughts (cf. Kor. xliii, 80). The Apostle 
said : " He who keeps silence is saved ? " In silence there are 
many advantages and spiritual favours (fut2i/i), and in speech 
there are many evils. Some Shaykhs have preferred silence 
to speech, while others have set speech above silence. Among 
the former is Junayd, who said : " Expressions are wholly 

pretensions, and where realities are established pretensions 

are idle. Sometimes it is excusable not to speak although 
one has the will to do so, i.e. fear becomes an excuse for not 
speaking in spite of one s having the will and the power to 
speak ; and refusal to speak of God does not impair the 
essence of gnosis. But at no time is a man excused for mere 
pretension devoid of reality, which is the principle of hypocrites. 
Pretension without reality is hypocrisy, and reality without 
pretension is sincerity, because " he who is grounded in 
eloquence needs no tongue to communicate with his Lord ". 
Expressions only serve to inform another than God, for God 
Himself requires no explanation of our circumstances, and 
others than God are not worth so much that we should occupy 
ourselves with them. This is corroborated by the saying of 



Junayd, " He^who knows God is dumb," for in actual_vision 
(^iydn) exposition (bay an) is a veil. It is related that Shibli 
rose up in Junayd s meeting-place and cried aloud, " O my 
object of desire !" and pointed to God. Junayd said : " O Abu 
Bakr, if God is the object of your desire, why do you point to 
Him, who is independent of this? And if the object of your 
desire is another, God knows what you say : why do you 
speak falsely ? " Shibli asked God to pardon him for having 
uttered those words. + 

Those who put speech above silence argue that we are 
commanded by God to set forth our circumstances, for the 
pretension subsists in the reality, and vice versa. If a man 
continues for a thousand years to know God in his heart and 
soul, but has not confessed that he knows God, he is virtually 
an infidel unless his silence has been due to compulsion. 4 God 
has bidden all believers give Him thanks and praise and 
rehearse His bounties, and He has promised to answer the 
prayers of those who invoke Him. One of the Shaykhs has 
said that whoever does net declare his spiritual state is without 
any spiritual state, since the state proclaims itself. 

" The tongue of the state (lisan al-hal) is more eloquent than 

my tongue, 
And my silence is the interpreter of my question" 

I have read in the Anecdotes that one day when Abu Bakr 
Shibli was walking in the Karkh quarter of Baghdad he heard 
an impostor saying : " Silence is better than speech." Shibli 
replied : " Thy silence is better than thy speech, but my speech 
is better than my silence, because thy speech is vanity and 
thy silence is an idle jest, whereas my silence is modesty and 
my speech is knowledge." I, AH b. Uthman al-Jullabi, declare 
that there are two kinds of speech and two kinds of silence : 
speech is either real or unreal, and silence is either fruition or_ 
forgetfulness. If one speaks truth, his speech is better than 
his silence, but if one speaks falsehood, his silence is better 
than his speech. " He who speaks hits the mark or misses it, 


but he who is made to speak is preserved from transgression." 
Thus Iblis said, "/ am better than he" (Kor. xxxviii, 77), but 
Adam was made to say, " Lord> jwe^Jiave done wrong unto 
ourselves" (Kor. vii, 22). The missionaries (dd iydii) of this 
sect are permitted or compelled to speak, and shame or 
helplessness strikes them dumb : " he whose silence is shame, 
his speech is life." Their speech is the result of vision, and 
speech without vision appears to them despicable. They prefer 
silence to speech so long as they are with themselves, but 
when they are beside themselves their words are written on 
the hearts of men. Hence that spiritual director said : " He 
whose silence to God is gold, his speech to another than God 
is gilt." The seeker of GfV*, W M JF Absorbed in servantship; 
must be silent, in order .that the adept^jvvhp^roclaims Lordship, 
may speak, and by his utterances may captivate the hearts 
of his disciples. The rule in speaking is not to speak unless 
bidden, and then only of the thing that is bidden ; and the 
rule in silence is not to be ignorant or satisfied with ignorance 
or forgetful. The disciple must not interrupt the speech of 
spiritual directors, or let his personal judgment intrude therein, 
or use far-fetched expressions in answering them. He must 
never tell a lie, or speak ill of the absent, or offend any Moslem 
with that tongue which has made the profession of faith and 
acknowledged the unity of God. He must not address 
dervishes by their bare names or speak to them until they ask 
a question. It behoves the dervish, when he is silent, not to 
be silent in falsehood, and when he speaks, to speak only the 
truth. This principle has many derivatives and innumerable 
refinements, but I will not pursue the subject, lest my book 
should become too long. 

CJiapter concerning their Rules in Asking. 

God hath said : " They ask not men with importunity " 
(Kor. ii, 274). Any one of them who asks should not be 
repulsed, for God said to the Apostle : " Do not drive away 
the beggar" (Kor. xciii, 10). As far as possible they should 


beg of God only, for begging involves turning away from 
God to another, and when a man turns away from God there 
is danger that God may leave him in that predicament. I have 
read that a certain worldling said to Rabi a Adawiyya l : 
" O Rabi a, ask something of me that I may procure what 
you wish." " O sir," she replied, " I am ashamed to ask any 
thing of the Creator of the world ; how, then, should I not 
be ashamed to ask anything of a fellow-creature?" It is 
related that in the time of Abu Muslim, the head of the 
( Abbasid) propaganda, an innocent dervish was seized on 
suspicion of theft, and was imprisoned at Chahar Taq. 2 
On the same night Abu Muslim dreamed that the Apostle 
came to him and said: "God has sent me to tell you that 
one of His friends is in your prison. Arise and set him free." 
Abu Muslim leapt from his bed, and ran with bare head and 
feet to the prison gate, and gave orders to release the dervish, 
and Begged his pardon and bade him ask a boon. " O prince," 
he replied, "one whose Master rouses Abu Muslim at midnight, 
and sends him to deliver a poor dervish from affliction how 
should that one ask a boon of others ? " Abu Muslim began 
to weep, and the dervish went on his way. Some, however, 
hold that a dervish may beg of his fellow-creatures, since 
God says : " Tliey ask not men with importunity" i.e. they 
may ask but not importune. The Apostle begged for the 
sake of providing for his companions, and he said to us : 
" Seek your wants from those whose faces are comely." 

The Sufi Shaykhs consider begging to be permissible in 
three cases. Firstly, with the object of freeing one s mind 
from preoccupation, for, as they have said, we should not 
attach so much importance to two cakes of bread that we 
should spend the whole day and night in expecting them ; 
and when we are starving we want nothing else of God, 
because no anxiet}/ is so engrossing as anxiety on account 
of food. Therefore, when the disciple of Shaqiq visited 

1 Nafahdt, No. 578 ; Ibn Khallikan, No. 230. 

2 A village, mentioned by Ibn al-Athir (x, 428, 24), in the vicinity of Baghdad. 


Bayazid, and in answer to Bayazfd s question as to the state 
of Shaqi q informed him that he was entirely disengaged from 
mankind, and was putting all his trust in God, Bayazid said : 
"When you return to Shaqiq, tell him to beware of again 
testing God with two loaves : if he is hungry, let him beg of 
his fellow-creatures and have done with the cant of trust in 
God." Secondly, it is permissible to beg with the object of 
training the lower soul. The Sufis beg in order that they 
may endure the humiliation of begging, and may perceive 
what is their worth in the eyes of other men, and may not 
be proud. When Shiblf came to Junayd, Junayd said to him : 
" O Abu Bakr, your head is full of conceit, because you are 
the son of the Caliph s principal chamberlain and the governor 
of Samarra. No good will come from you until you go to 
the market and beg of everyone whom you see, that you 
may know your true worth." Shiblf obeyed. He begged in 
the market for three years, with ever decreasing success. One 
day, having gone through the whole market and got nothing, 
he returned to Junayd and told him. Junayd said : " Now, 
Abu Bakr, you see that you have no worth in the eyes of 
men : do not fix your heart on them. This matter (i.e. begging) 
is for the sake of discipline, not for the sake of profit." It is 
related that Dhu 1-Nun the Egyptian said : " I had a friend 
who was in accord with God. After his death I saw him in 
a dream, and asked him how God had dealt with him. He 
answered that God had forgiven him. I asked him : ( On 
account of what virtue? He replied that God raised him 
to his feet and said : c My servant, you suffered with patience 
much contumely and tribulation from base and avaricious 
men, to whom you stretched out your hands : therefore I forgive 
you. " Tliirdly, they beg from mankind because of their 
reverence for God. They recognize that all worldly possessions 
belong to God, and they regard all mankind as His agents, 
from whom not from God Himself they beg anything that 
is for the benefit of the lower soul ; and in the eyes of one 
who beholds his own want, the servant that makes a petition 


to an agent is more reverent and obedient than he that makes 
a petition to God. Therefore, their begging from another is 
a sign of presence and of turning towards God, not a sign of 
absence and of turning away from Him. I have read that 
Yahya b. Mu adh (al-Razi) had a daughter, who one day 
asked her mother for something. "Ask it of God," said the 
mother. " I am ashamed," the girl replied, " to ask a material 
want from Him. What you give me is His too and is my 
allotted portion." The rules of begging are as follows: If 
you beg unsuccessfully you should be more cheerful than 
when you succeed, and you should not regard any human 
creature as coming between God and yourself. You should 
not beg of women or market-folk (ashdb-i aswdq) } and you 
should not tell your secret to anyone unless you are sure that 
his money is lawful. As far as possible you should beg un 
selfishly, and should not use the proceeds for worldly show 
and for housekeeping, or convert them into property. You 
should live in the present, and let no thought of the morrow 
enter your mind, else you will incur everlasting perdition. You 
should not make God a springe to catch alms, and you should 
not display piety in order that more alms may be given to 
you on account of your piety. I once met an old and venerable 
Sufi, who had lost his way in the desert and came, hunger- 
stricken, into the market-place at Kufa with a sparrow perched 
on his hand, crying : " Give me something for the sake of 
this sparrow ! " The people asked him why he said this. He 
replied: "It is impossible that I should say Give me some 
thing for God s sake ! One must employ the intercession 
of an insignificant creature to obtain worldly goods." 

This is but a small part of the obligations involved in begging. 
I have abridged the topic for fear of being tedious. 

Chapter concerning their Rules in Marriage and Celibacy and 

matters connected therewith. 

God hath said : " They (women) are a garment unto you and 
ye are a garment unto them" (Kor. ii, 183). AncTtHe Apostle 


said : " Marry, that ye may multiply ; for I will vaunt you 
against all other nations on the Day of Resurrection, even in 
respect of the still-born." And he said also : " The women who 
bring the greatest blessing are they who cost least to maintain, 
whose faces are comeliest, and whose dowries are cheapest." 
Marriage is permitted to all men and women, and is obligatory 
on those who cannot abstain from what is unlawful, and is 
a sunna (i.e. sanctioned by the custom of the Apostle) for those 
who are able to support a family. Some of the Sufi Shaykhs 
hold marriage to be desirable as a means of quelling lust, and 
acquisition (of sustenance) to be desirable as a means of freeing 
the mind from anxiety. Others hold that the object of marriage 
is procreation ; for, if the child dies before its father, it will 
intercede for him (before God), and if the father dies first, the 
child will remain to pray for him. 1 The Apostle said : " Women 
are married for four things : wealth, nobility, beauty, and religion. 
DcTye take one that is religious, for, after Islam, there is nothing 
that profits a man so much as a believing and obedient wife 
who gladdens him whenever he looks on her." And the Apostle 
said : " Satan is with the solitary," because Satan decks out 
lust and presents it to their minds. Xo companionship is equal 
in reverence and security to marriage, when husband and wife 
are congenial and well-suited to each other, and no torment 
and anxiety is so great as an uncongenial wife. Therefore the 
dervish must, in the first place, consider what he is doing and 
picture in his mind the evils of celibacy and of marriage, in 
order that he may choose the state of which he can more easily 
overcome the evils. The evils of celibacy are two : (i) the 
neglect of an Apostolic custom, (2) the fostering of lust in the 
heart and the danger of falling into unlawful ways. The evils 
of marriage are also twoj (l) the preoccupation"!) f the mind 
with other than God, (2) the distraction of the body for the 
sake_o_f sensual__pleasure. The root of this matter lies in retire- < ^- 
ment and companionship. Marriage is proper for those who 

1 Here a story is told of the Caliph Umar, who asked Umm Kulthum, the 
Prophet s granddaughter, in marriage from her father All. 


prefer to associate with mankind, and celibacy is an ornament 
tcTEKose who seek retirement from mankind. The Apostle said : 
" Go : the recluses (al-mufarridiln) have preceded you," And 
Hasan of Basra says : " The lightly burdened shall be saved and 
the heavily laden shall perish." Ibrahim Khawwas relates the 
following story : " I went to a certain village to visit a reverend 
man who lived there. When I entered his house I saw that 
it was clean, like a saint s place of worship. In its two corners 
two niches (inihrdV) had been made ; the old man was seated 
in one of them, and in the other niche an old woman was sitting, 
clean and bright : both had become weak through much 
devotion. They showed great joy at my coming, and I stayed 
with them for three days. When I was about to depart I asked 
the old man, What relation is this chaste woman to you ? 
He answered, She is my cousin and my wife. I said, During 
these three days your intercourse with one another has been 
very like that of strangers. Yes, said he, * it has been so for 
five and sixty years. I asked him the cause of this. He replied : 
4 When we were young we fell in love, but her father would not 
give her to me, for he had discovered our fondness for each 
other. I bore this sorrow for a long while, but on her father s 
death my father, who was her uncle, gave me her hand. On 
the wedding-night she said to me : "You know what happiness 
God has bestowed upon us in bringing us together and taking 
all fear away from our hearts. Let us therefore to-night refrain 
from sensual passion and trample on our desires and worship 
God in thanksgiving for this happiness." I said, " It is well." 
Next night she bade me do the same. On the third night 
I said, " Now we have given thanks for two nights for your 
sake ; to-night let us worship God for my sake." Five and sixty 
years have passed since then, and we have never touched one 
another, but spend all our lives in giving thanks for our 
happiness. " Accordingly, when a dervish chooses companion 
ship, it behoves him to provide his wife with lawful food and 
pay her dowry out of lawful property, and not indulge in sensual 
pleasure so long as any obligation towards God, or any part of 


His commandments, is unfulfilled. And when he performs his 
devotions and is about to go to bed, let him say, as in secret 
converse with God : " O Lord God, Thou hast mingled lust with 
Adam s clay in order that the world may be populated, and 
Thou in Thy knowledge hast willed that I should have this 
intercourse. Cause it to be for the sake of two things : firstly, 
to guard that which is unlawful by means of that which is 
lawful ; and secondly, vouchsafe to me a child, saintly and 
acceptable, not one who will divert my thoughts from Thee." 
It is related that a son was born to Sahl b. Abdallah al-Tustari. 
Whenever the child asked his mother for food, she used to bid 
him ask God, and while he went to the niche (inihrdti) and 
bowed himself in prayer, she used secretly to give him what 
he wanted, without letting him know that his mother had given 
it to him. Thus he grew accustomed to turn unto God. One 
day he came back from school when his mother was absent, 
and bowed himself in prayer. God caused the thing that he 
sought to appear before him. When his mother came in she 
asked, "Where did you get this?" He answered, " From the 
place whence it comes always." 

The practice of an Apostolic rule of life must not lead the 
dervish to seek worldly wealth and unlawful gain or preoccupy 
his heart, for the dervish is ruined by the destruction of his 
heart, just as the rich man is ruined by the destruction of his 
house and furniture ; but the rich man can repair his loss, 
while the dervish cannot. In our time it is impossible for 
anyone to have a suitable wife, whose wants are not excessive 
and whose demands are not unreasonable. Therefore many 
persons have adopted celibacy and observe the Apostolic 
Tradition : " The best of men in latter days will be those who 
are light of back," i.e. who have neither wife nor child. It is 
the unanimous opinion of the Shaykhs of this sect that the 
best and most excellent Sufi s are the celibates, if their hearts 
are uncontaminated and if their natures are not inclined to 
sins and lusts. The^vulgar, in gratifying their lusts, appeal 
to the Apostle s saying, that the three things he loved in the 


world were scent, women, and prayer, and argue that since he 
loved women marriage must be more excellent than celibacy. 
I "reply : " The Apostle also said that he had two trades, namely, 
poverty (faqr) and the spiritual combat (jihad) : why,jthen,_dp 
yeTshun these things? If he loved that (viz. marriage), this 
(viz. celibacy) was his trade. Your desires have a greater 
propensity to the former, but it is absurd, on that ground, to 
say that he loves what you desire. Anyone who follows his 
desires for fifty years and supposes that he is following the 
practice of the Apostle is in grave error." A woman was the 
cause of the first calamity that overtook Adam in Paradise, 
and also of the first quarrel that happened in this world, 
i.e. the quarrel of Abel and Cain. A woman was the cause of 
the punishment inflicted on the two angels (Harut and Marut) ; 
and down to the present day all mischiefs, worldly and religious 
have been caused by women. After God had preserved me 
for eleven years from the dangers of matrimony, it was my 
destiny to fall in love with the description of a woman whom 
I had never seen, and during a whole year my passion so 
absorbed me that my religion was near being ruined, until at 
last God in His bounty gave protection to my wretched heart 
and mercifully delivered me. In short, Sufiism was founded 
on celibacy ; the introduction of marriage brought about a 
change. Therejs no flame of lust that cannot be_extingujshed 
by strenuous effort, because, whatever vice proceeds from 
yourself, you possess the instrument that will remove it : 
another is not necessary for that purpose. Now the removal 
of lust may be effected by two things, one of which involves 
self-constraint (takalluf\ while the other lies outside the sphere 
of human action and mortification. The former is hunger, the 
latter is an agitating fear or a true love, which is collected by 
the dispersion of (sensual) thoughts: ajove which extends its 
empire over the different parts of the body and divests all the 
"senses of their sensual quality. Ahmad Hammadi of Sarakhs, 
"who went to Transoxania and lived there, was a venerable 
man. On beinsr asked whether he desired to marry, he 


answered : " No, because I am either absent from myself or 
present with myself: when I am absent, I have no consciousness 
of the two worlds ; and when I am present, I keep my lower 
soul in such wise that when it gets a loaf of bread it thinks 
that it has got a thousand houris. It is a great thing to 
occupy the mind : let it be anxious about whatsoever you will." 
Others i __agam x _recommend that neither state (marriage or 
celibacy) should be regarded with predilection, in order that 
we may see what the decree of Divine providence will bring 
to light : if celibacy be our lot, we should strive to be chaste, 
and if marriage be our destiny, we should comply with the 
custom of the Apostle and strive to clear our hearts~(bT worldly 
anxieties). When God ordains celibacy unto a man, his 
celibacy should be like that of Joseph, who, although he was 
able to satisfy his desire for Zulaykha, turned away from her 
and busied himself with subduing his passion and considering 
the vices of his lower soul at the moment when Zulaykha was 
alone with him. And if God ordains marriage unto a man, 
his marriage should be like that of Abraham, who by reason 
of his absolute confidence in God put aside all care for his 
wife ; and when Sarah became jealous he took Hagar and 
brought her to a barren valley and committed her to the care 
of God. Accordingly, a man is not ruined by marriage or by 
celibacy, but the mischief consists in asserting one s will and 
in yielding to one s desires. The married man ought to 
observe the following rules. He should not leave any act of 
s devotion undone, or let any "state" be lost or any "time" be 
I wasted. He should be kind to his wife and should provide 
herewith lawful expenses, and he should not pay court to 
tyrants and governors with the object of meeting her expenses. 
He should behave thus, in order that, if a child is born, it may 
be such as it ought to be. A well-known story is told of 
Ahmad b. Harb of Nishapur, that one day, when he was 
sitting with the chiefs and nobles of Nishapur who had come 
to offer their respects to him, his son entered the room, drunk, 
playing a guitar, and singing, and passed by insolently without 


heeding them. Ahmad, perceiving that they were put out of 
countenance, said : " What is the matter ? " They replied : 
" We are ashamed that this lad should pass by you in such 
a state." Ahmad said : " He is excusable. One night my 
wife and I partook of some food that was brought to us from 
a neighbour s house. That same night this son was begotten, 
and we fell asleep and let our devotions go. Next morning 
we inquired of our neighbour as to the source of the food that 
he had sent to us, and we found that it came from a wedding- 
feast in the house of a government official." The following 
rules should be observed by the celibate. He must not see 
what is improper to see or think what is improper to think, 
and he must quench the flames of lust by hunger and guard 
his heart from this world and from preoccupation with 
phenomena, and he must not call the desire of his lower soul 
" knowledge " or " inspiration ", and he must not make the 
wiles (bu l-ajabi*} of Satan a pretext (for sin). If he acts 
thus he will be approved in Sufiism. 



Those employed in every craft and business, while discussing 
its mysteries with one another, make use of certain words and 
expressions of which the meaning is known only to themselves. 
Such expressions are invented for a double purpose : firstly, 
in order to facilitate the understanding of difficulties and bring 
them nearer to the comprehension of the novice ; and secondly, 
in order to conceal the mysteries of that science from the 
uninitiated. The Sufi s also have technical terms for the 
purpose of expressing the matter of their discourse and in 
order that they may reveal or disguise their meaning as they 
please. I will now explain some of these terms and distinguish 
between the significations attached to various pairs of words. 

Hal and Waqt. 

Waqt (time) is a term with which Sufis are familiar, and 
concerning which much has been said by the Shaykhs, but my 
object is to establish the truth, not to give long explanations. 
Waqt is that whereby a man becomes independent of the past 
and the future, as, for example, when an influence from God 
descends into his soul and makes his heart collected (inujtami*) 
he has no memory of the past and no thought of that which 
is not yet come. All people fail in this, and do not know 
what our past has been or what our future will be, except the 
possessors of waqt^ who say : " Our knowledge cannot 
apprehend the future and the past, and we are happy with 
God in the present (andar waqf). If we occupy ourselves 


with to-morrow, or let any thought of it enter our minds, we 
shall be veiled (from God), and a veil is a great distraction 
(fardgandagi}? It is absurd to think of the unattainable. 
Thus Abu Sa i d Kharraz says : " Do not occupy your precious 
time except with the most precious of things, and the most 
precious of human things is the state of being occupied between 
the past and the future." And the Apostle said : " I have 
a time (waqt) with God, in which none of the cherubim nor 
any prophet rivals me," that is to say, " in which the eighteen 
thousand worlds do not occur to my mind and have no worth 
in my eyes." Therefore, on the night of the Ascension, when 
the kingdom of earth and heaven was arrayed before him in 
all its beauty, he did not look at anything (Kor. liii, 17), for 
Mustafa was noble ^aziz)> and the noble are not engrossed save 
by that which is noble. The " times " (awqdt) of the Unitarian 
are two : one in the state of loss (faqd) and one in the state 
of gain (wajd\ one in the place of union and one in the place 
of separation. At both these times he is overpowered (inaqhiir), 
because both his union and his separation are effected by God 
without such volition or acquisition on his part as would make 
it possible to invest him with any attribute. When a man s 
power of volition is cut off from him, whatever he does or 
experiences is the result of " time " (waqt\ It is related that 
Junayd said : " I saw a dervish in the desert, sitting under 
a mimosa-tree in a hard and uncomfortable spot, and asked 
him what made him sit there so still. He answered : c I had 
a " time " and lost it here ; now I am sitting and mourning. 
I inquired how long he had been there. He answered : * Twelve 
years. Will not the Shaykh offer up a prayer (Jiimmati kunad~) 
on my behalf, that perchance I may find my " time " again ? 
I left him," said Junayd, " and performed the pilgrimage and 
prayed for him. My prayer was granted. On my return 
I found him seated in the same place. Why, 3 I said, * do 
you not go from here, since you have obtained your wish ? 
He replied : O Shaykh, I settled myself in this place of 
desolation where I lost my capital : is it right that I should 


leave the place where I have found my capital once more and 
where I enjoy the society of God ? Let the Shaykh go in 
peace, for I will mix my dust with the dust of this spot, that 
I may rise at the Resurrection from this dust which is the 
abode of my delight. " No man can attain to the reality of 
" time " by exerting his choice, for " time " is a thing that does 
not come within the scope of human acquisition, that it should 
be gained by effort, nor is it sold in the market, that anyone 
should give his life in exchange for it, and the will has no 
power either to attract or to repel it. The Shaykhs have said, 
" Time is a cutting sword," because it is characteristic of 
a sword to cut, and " time " cuts the root of the future and the 
past, and obliterates care of yesterday and to-morrow from the 
heart. The sword is a dangerous companion : either it makes 
its master a king or it destroys him. Although one should 
pay homage to the sword and carry it on one s own shoulder 
for a thousand years, in the moment of cutting it does not 
discriminate between its master s neck and the neck of another. 
Violence (jqahr) is its characteristic, and violence will not 
depart from it at the wish of its master. 

Hal (state) is that which descends upon " time " (waqf) and 
adorns it, as the spirit adorns the body. Waqt has need of hdl, 
for waqt is beautified by hdl and subsists thereby. When the 
owner of waqt comes into possession of hdl, he is no more 
subjecF to change and is made steadfast (mustaqim] in his state ; 
for, when he has waqt without hdl, he may lose it, but when 
hdl attaches itself to him, all his state (nizgdr) becomes waqt, 
and that cannot be lost : what seems to be coming and going 
(dinad s/iud} is really the result of becoming and manifestation 
(takawwun it zuhtir), just as, before this, waqt descended on 
him who has it. He who is in the state of becoming (itmta- 
kawwiri) may be forgetful, and on him who is thus forgetful 
hdl descends and waqt is made stable (inutamakkhi) ; for the 
possessor of waqt may become forgetful, but the possessor of 
7&z7 cannot possibly be so. The tongue of the possessor of hdl 
is silent concerning his hdl, but his actions proclaim the reality 



of his hdl. Hence that spiritual director said : " To ask about 
hdl is absurd," because hdl is the annihilation of speech (inaqdt). 
Master Abu All Daqqaq says : "If there is joy or woe in this 
world or the next world, the portion of waqt is that (feeling) 
in which thou art." But hdl is not like this ; when hdl comes 
on a man from God, it banishes all these feelings from his 
heart. Thus Jacob was a possessor of waqt : now he was 
blinded by separation, now he was restored to sight by union, 
now he was mourning and wailing, now he was calm and joyful. 
But Abraham was a possessor of hdl : he was not conscious of 
separation, that he should be stricken with grief, nor of union, 
that he should be filled with joy. The sun and moon and stars 
contributed to his hdl, but he, while he gazed, was independent 
of them : whatever he looked on, he saw only God, and he said : 
" I love not them that set" (Kor. vi, 76). Accordingly, the world 
sometimes becomes a hell to the possessor of waqt, because he 
is contemplating absence (gJiaybaf) and his heart is distressed 
by the loss of his beloved ; and sometimes his heart is like 
a Paradise in the blessedness of contemplation, and every 
moment brings to him a gift and a glad message from God. 
On the other hand, it makes no difference to the possessor of 
hdl whether he is veiled by affliction or unveiled by happiness ; 
for he is always in the place of actual vision ( l iydn). Hdl is an 
attribute of the object desired (inurdd}, while waqt is the rank 
of the desirer (inurfd). The latter is with himself in the pleasure 
of waqt, the former with God in the delight of hdl. How far 
apart are the two degrees ! 

Maqdm and Tanikin, and the difference between them. 

Maqdm (station) denotes the perseverance of the seeker in 
fulfilling his obligations towards the object of his search with 
strenuous exertion and flawless intention. Everyone who 
desires God has a station (inaqdui\ which, in the beginning 
of his search, is a means whereby he seeks God. Although the 
seeker derives some benefit from every station through which 
he passes, he finally rests in one, because a station and the 


quest thereof involve contrivance and design (tarkib u hild], 
not conduct and practice (rawis/i ti nm dmalaf). God hath said : 
"None of us but hath a certain station" (Kor. xxxvii, 164). The 
station of Adam was repentance (tawbat], that of Noah was 
renunciation (zuhd), that of Abraham was resignation (taslini), 
that of Moses was contrition (indbat\ that of David was sorrow 
(huzn), that of Jesus was hope (raja), that of John (the Baptist) 
waT fear (khawf\ and that of our Apostle was praise (dhikr). 
They drew something from other sources by which they abode, 
but each of them returned at last to his original station. In 
discussing the doctrine of the Muhasibis, I gave a partial 
explanation of the stations and distinguished between hdl and 
maqdm. Here, however, it is necessary to make some further 
remarks on this subject. You must know that the Way to God 
is of three kinds : (i) maqdm, (2) hdl, (3) tamkin. God sent 
all the prophets to explain the Way and to elucidate the 
principle of the different stations. One hundred and twenty- 
four thousand apostles, and a few over that number, came 
with as many stations. On the advent of our Apostle a hdl 
appeared to those in each station and attained a pitch where 
all human acquisition was left behind, until religion was made 
perfect unto men, as God hath said : " To-day I have perfected 
your religion for you and have completed My bounty unto you " 
(Kor. v, 5) ; then the tamkin (steadfastness) of the steadfast 
appeared ; but if I were to enumerate every hdl and explain 
every maqdm, my purpose would be defeated. 

Tamkin denotes the residence of spiritual adepts in the abode 
of perfection and in the highest grade. Those in stations can 
pass on from their stations, but it is impossible to pass beyond 
the grade of tamkin, because maqdm is the grade of beginners, 
whereas tamkin is the resting-place of adepts, and maqdmdt 
(stations) are stages on the way, whereas tamkin is repose 
within the shrine. The friends of God are absent (from them 
selves) on the way and are strangers (to themselves) in the 
stages : their hearts are in the presence (of God), and in the 
presence every instrument is evil and every tool is (a token of) 


absence (from God) and infirmity. In the epoch of Paganism 
the poets used to praise men for noble deeds, but they did not 
recite their panegyric until some time had elapsed. When 
a poet came into the presence of the person whom he had 
celebrated, he used to draw his sword and hamstring his camel 
and then break his sword, as though to say : " I needed a camel 
to bring me from a far distance to thy presence, and a sword 
to repel the envious who would have hindered me from paying 
homage to thee : now that I have reached thee, I kill my camel, 
for I will never depart from thee again ; and I break my sword, 
for I will not admit into my mind the thought of being severed 
from thy court." Then, after a few days, he used to recite his 
poem. Similarly, when Moses attained to tamkin^ God bade 
him put off his shoes and cast away his staff (Kor. xx, 12), 
these being articles of travel and Moses being in the presence 
of God. The beginning of love is search, but the end is rest : 
water flows in the river-bed, but when it reaches the ocean 
it ceases to flow and changes its taste, so that those who desire 
water avoid it, but those who desire pearls devote themselves 
to death and fasten the plummet of search to their feet and 
plunge headlong into the sea, that they may either gain the 
hidden pearl or lose their dear lives. And one of the Shaykhs 
says : " Tamkin is the removal of talwin" Talwin also is 
a technical term of the Sufis, and is closely connected in 
meaning with tamkin, just as hdl is connected with maqdm. 
The signification of talwm is change and turning from one 
state to another, and the above-mentioned saying means that 
he who is steadfast (mutamakkin) is not vacillating (inutaraddid), 
for he has carried all that belongs to him into the presence of 
God and has erased every thought of other than God from his 
mind, so that no act that passes over him alters his outward 
predicament and no state changes his inward predicament. 
Thus Moses was subject to talwin : he fell in a swoon (Kor. 
vii, 139) when God revealed His glory to Mount Sinai; but 
Muhammad was steadfast : he suffered no change, although he 
was in the very revelation of glory from Mecca to a space of 


two bow-lengths from God ; and this is the highest grade. Now 
tamkin is of two kinds one referring to the dominant influence 
of God (sJidhid-i haqq), and the other referring to the dominant 
influence of one s self (shdJiid-i khud). He whose tamkin is 
of the latter kind retains his attributes unimpaired, but he 
whose tamkin is of the former kind has no attributes ; and 
the terms effacement (mahw\ sobriety (sahw), attainment (lahq), 
destruction (inahq)} annihilation (fand\ subsistence (baqd)> being 
(wuj2icT), and not-being (fadani) are not properly applied to one 
whose attributes are annihilated, because a subject is necessary 
for the maintenance of these qualities, and when the subject is 
absorbed (mustaghriq] he loses the capacity for maintaining them. 

Muhddarat and Mukdshafat t and the difference between them. 

Muhddarat denotes the presence of the heart in the subtleties 
of demonstration (baydri), while mukdsJiafat denotes the presence 
of the spirit (sirr) in the domain of actual vision ( l iydri). 
Muhddarat refers to the evidences of God s signs (aydt\ and 
mukdshafat to the evidences of contemplation (inushdhaddf). 
The mark of muhddarat is continual meditation upon God s 
signs, while the mark of mukdshafat is continual amazement 
at God s infinite greatness. There is a difference between one 
who meditates upon the Divine acts and one who is amazed 
at the Divine majesty : the one is a follower of friendship, the 
other is a companion of love. When the Friend of God 
(Abraham) looked on the kingdom of heaven and meditated 
on the reality of its existence, his heart was made " present " 
(Jiddir) thereby : through beholding the act he became a seeker 
of the Agent ; his " presence " (Jiudtir) made the act a proof 
of the Agent, and in perfect gnosis he exclaimed : " / turn my 
face with trice belief unto Him who created the heavens and the 
earth " (Kor. vi, 79). But when the Beloved of God (Muhammad) 
was borne to Heaven he shut his eyes from the sight of 
all things ; he saw neither God s act nor created beings 

1 Mahq denotes annihilation of a man s being in the essence of God, while mahiv 
denotes annihilation of his actions in the action of God (Jurjani, Ta rifdt}. 


nor himself, but the Agent was revealed to him, and in that 
revelation (kashf} his desire increased : in vain he sought vision, 
proximity, union ; in proportion as the exemption (tanztJi) of 
his Beloved (from all such conceptions) became more manifest 
to him the more did his desire increase ; he could neither turn 
back nor go forward, hence he fell into amazement. Where 
friendship was, amazement seemed infidelity, but where love 
was, union was polytheism, and amazement became the sole 
resource, because in friendship the object of amazement was 
being (Jiasti\ and such amazement is polytheism, but in love 
the object of amazement was nature and quality (cliigunagi], 
and this amazement is unification (taw/iid}. In this sense 
Shibli used always to say : " O Guide of the amazed, increase 
my amazement ! " for in contemplation (of God) the greater 
one s amazement the higher one s degree. The story of Abu 
Sa id Kharraz and Ibrahim b. Sa d Alawi x is well known how 
they saw a friend of God on the seashore and asked him " What 
is the Way to God ? " and how he answered that there are two 
ways to God, one for the vulgar and one for the elect. When 
they desired him to explain this he said : " The way of the 
vulgar is that on which you are going : you accept for some 
cause and you decline for some cause ; but the way of the elect 
is to see only the Causer, and not to see the cause." The true 
meaning of these anecdotes has already been set forth. 

Qabd and Bast, and the difference between them. 

Qabd (contraction) and bast (expansion) are two involuntary 
states which cannot be induced by any human act or banished 
by any human exertion. God hath said : " God contracts and 
expands " (Kor. ii, 246). Qabd denotes the contraction of the 
heart in the state of being veiled (Jiijdb\ and bast denotes the 
expansion of the heart in the state of revelation (kashf\ Both 
states proceed from God without effort on the part of Man. 
The qabd of gnostics is like the fear of novices, and the bast 
of gnostics is like the hope of novices. This is the sense in 

1 Nafahdt, No. 15. 


which the Sufis use the terms qabd and bast. Some Shaykhs 
hold that qabd is superior in degree to bast, for two reasons : 
(i) it is mentioned before bast in the Koran, (2) qabd involves 
dissolution and oppression, whereas bast involves nutrition and 
favour : it is undoubtedly better to dissolve one s^humanity 
and oppress one s lower soul than to foster and favour them, 
since they are the greatest veil (between Man and God). 
Others, again, hold that bast is superior to qabd. The fact, 
they say, that qabd is mentioned before bast in the Koran shows 
the superiority of bast, for the Arabs are accustomed to mention 
in the first place that which is inferior in merit, e.g. God hath 
said : " There is one of the in who injures his own soul > and one who 
keeps the middle way, and one who oiitstrips the others in good 
works by the permission of God " (Kor. xxxv, 29). Moreover, 
they argue that in bast there is joy and in qabd grief; gnostics 
feel joy only in union with the object of knowledge, and grief 
only__in_separation from the. object of -desire, therefore rest in 
the abode of union is better than rest in the abode of separation. 
My Shaykh used to say that both qabd and bast are the result 
of one spiritual influence, which descends from God on Man, 
and either fills the heart with joy and subdues the lower soul 
or subdues the heart and fills the lower soul with joy ; in the 
latter case contraction (qabd} of the heart is expansion (bast) 
of the lower soul, and in the former case expansion of the heart 
is contraction of the lower soul. He who interprets this matter 
otherwise is wasting his breath. Hence Bayazid said : " The 
contraction of hearts consists in the expansion of souls, and 
the expansion of hearts in the contraction of souls." The 
contracted soul is guarded from injury, and the expanded heart 
is restrained from falling into defect, because jealousy is the 
rule in love, and contraction is a sign of God s jealousy ; and 
it is necessary that lovers should reproach one another, and 
expansion is a sign of mutual reproach. It is a well-known 
tradition that John wept ever since he was born, while Jesus 
smiled ever since he was born, because John was in contraction 
and Jesus in expansion. When they met John used to say, 


" O Jesus, hast thou no fear of being cut off (from God) ? " and 
Jesus used to say, " O John, hast thou no hope of God s mercy ? 
Neither thy tears nor my smiles will change the eternal decree 
of God." 

Uns and Haybat, and the difference between them. 

(7ns (intimacy) and haybat (awe) are two states of the 
dervishes who travel on the Way to God. When God manifests 
His glory to a man s heart so that His majesty (jaldl) pre 
dominates, he feels awe (haybat), but when God s beauty 
(Jamdl) predominates he feels intimacy (uns) : those who feel 
awe are distressed, while those who feel intimacy are rejoiced. 
There is a difference between one who is burned by His 
majesty in the fire of love and one who is illuminated by His 
beauty in the light of contemplation. Some Shaykhs have 
said that haybat is the degree of gnostics and tins the degree 
of novices, because the farther one has advanced in the presence 
of God and in divesting Him of attributes the more his heart 
is overwhelmed with awe and the more averse he is to intimacy, 
for one is intimate with those of one s own kind, and intimacy 
with God is inconceivable, since no homogeneity or resemblance 
can possibly exist between God and Man. If intimacy is 
possible, it is possible only with the praise (dhikr) of Him, 
which is something different from Himself, because that is 
an attribute of Man ; and in love, to be satisfied with another 
than the Beloved is falsehood and pretension and self-conceit. 
Haybat, on the other hand, arises from contemplating greatness, 
which is an attribute of God, and there is a vast difference 
between one whose experience proceeds from himself through 
himself and one whose experience proceeds from the annihila 
tion of himself through the subsistence of God. It is related 
that Shibli said : " For a long time I used to think that I was 
rejoicing in the love of God and was intimate with con 
templation of Him : now I know that intimacy is impossible 
except with a congener." Some, however, allege that haybat 
is a corollary of separation and punishment, while uns is the 


result of union and mercy ; therefore the friends of God must 
be guarded from the consequences of haybat and be attached 
to uns, for uns involves love, and as homogeneity is impossible 
in love (of God), so it is impossible in uns. My Shaykh used 
to say : " I wonder at those who declare intimacy with God 
to be impossible, after God has said, Verily My servants] and 
Say to My servants , and * When My servants sJiall ask thee\ 
and My servants, no fear shall come on you this day, and ye 
shall not grieve (Kor. xliii, 68). A servant of God, seeing this 
favour, cannot fail to love Him, and when he has loved he will 
become intimate, because awe of one s beloved is estrangement 
(begdnagi), whereas intimacy is oneness {yagdnagi). It is 
characteristic of men to become intimate with their benefactors, 
and inasmuch as God has conferred on us so great benefits 
and we have knowledge of Him, it is impossible that we should 
talk of awe." I, al-Jullab/ 3 say that both parties 
in this controversy are right,__bcause_the ..power of haybat is 
exerted upon the lower soul and its desires, and tends to 
annihilate human nature, while the power of uns is exerted 
upon the heart and tends to foster gnosis in the heart. There 
fore God annihilates the souls of those who love Hjm by 
revealing His majesty and endows their hearts with everlasting 
life by revealing His beauty. The followers of annihilation 
(fand) regard haybat as superior, but the followers of subsistence 
(baqd) prefer tins. 

Qahr and Lutf, and the difference between them. 

These two expressions are used by the Sufis in reference to 
their own state. By qahr (violence) they signify the reinforce- 
meirt given to them by God in annihilating their desires and 
in restraining the lower soul from its concupiscence ; and by 
lutf (kindness) they signify God s help towards the subsistence 
of their hearts and towards the continuance of contemplation 
and towards the permanence of ecstasy in the degree of stead 
fastness (istiqdmat}. The adherents of lutf say Divine grace 
(kardmat) is the attainment of one s desire, but the others say 


that Divine grace is this that God through His will should 
restrain a man from his own will and should overpower him 
with will-lessness (bemurddi*), so that if he were thirsty and 
plunged into a river, the river would become dry. It is related 
that in Baghdad were two eminent dervishes, the one aLbdiever 
in qahr and the other a believer in lutf, who were always 
quarrelling and each preferring his own state to that, of his 
neighbour. The dervish who preferred lutf set out for Mecca 
and entered the desert, but never reached his destination. No 
news of him was heard for many years, but at last he was seen 
by a traveller on the road between Mecca and Baghdad. 
" O my brother," he said, " when you return to Iraq tell my 
friend at Karkh that if he wishes to see a desert, with all 
its hardships, like Karkh of Baghdad, with all its marvels, 
let him come here, for this desert is Karkh to me ! " When 
the traveller arrived at Karkh he delivered this message to 
the other dervish, who said : " On your return, tell him that 
there is no superiority in the fact that the desert has been 
made like Karkh to him, in order that he may not flee from 
the court (of God) ; the superiority lies in the fact that Karkh, 
with all its wondrous opulence, has been made to me like 
a painful desert, and that nevertheless I am happy here." 
And it is related that Shibli said, in his secret converse with 
God : " O Lord, I will not turn from Thee, although Thou 
shouldst make the heaven a collar for my neck and the earth 
a shackle for my foot and the whole universe athirst for my 
blood." My Shaykh used to say : " One year a meeting of 
the saints of God took place in the midst of the desert, and 
I accompanied my spiritual director, Husri, to that spot. 
I saw some of them approaching on camels, some borne on 
thrones, and some flying, but Husri paid no heed to them. 
Then I saw a youth with torn shoes and a broken staff. His 
feet could scarcely support him, and his head was bare and 
his body emaciated. As soon as he appeared Husri sprang 
up and ran to meet him and led him to a lofty seat. This 
astonished me, and afterwards I questioned the Shaykh about 


the youth. He replied : c He is one of God s saints who does 
not follow saintship, but saintship follows him ; and he pays 
no attention to miracles (kardmdt) " In short, what we 
choose for ourselves is noxious to us. I desire only that God 
should desire for me, and therein preserve me from the evil 
thereof and save me from the wickedness of my soul. If He 
kee_p me in qahr I do not wish for lutf y and if He keep me in 
lutf I do not wish for qahr. I have no choice beyond His 

Nafy and Ithbdt^ and the difference between them. 

The Shaykhs of this Path give the names of nafy (negation) 
and ithbdt (affirmation) to the effacement of the attributes of 
humanity by the affirmation of Divine aid (tayid). By negation 
they signify the negation of the attributes of humanity, and 
by affirmation they mean the affirmation of the power of the 
Truth, because effacement (inahw) is total loss, and total 
negation is applicable only to the attributes ; for negation of the 
essence is impossible while the Universal (kulliyyaf) subsists. 
It is necessary, therefore, that blameworthy attributes should 
be negated by the affirmation of praiseworthy qualities, i.e. the 
pretension to love of God is negated by affirmation of the 
reality, for pretension is one of the vanities of the lower soul. 
But the Sufis, when their attributes are overpowered by the 
might of the Truth, habitually say that the attributes of 
humanity are negated by affirming the subsistence of God. 
This matter has already been discussed in the chapter on 
poverty and purity and in that on annihilation and subsistence. 
They say also that the words in question signify the negation 
of Man s choice by the affirmation of God s choice. Hence 
that blessed one said : " God s choice for His servant with 
His knowledge of His servant is better than His servant s 
choice for himself with his ignorance of his Lord," because 
love, as all agree, is the negation of the lover s choice by 
affirmation of the Beloved s choice. I have read in the 
Anecdotes that a dervish was drowning in the sea, when 


some one cried : " Brother, do you wish to be saved ? " He 
said: "No." "Then do you wish to be drowned?" "No." 
" It is a wonder that you will not choose either to die or to 
be saved." " What have I to do with safety," said the dervish, 
"that I should choose it? My choice is that God should 
choose for me." The Shaykhs have said that negation of one s 
own choice is the least grade in love. Now, God s choice has 
no beginning in time and cannot possibly be negated, but 
Man s choice is accidental (^aradi) and admits of negation, and 
must be trodden under foot, that the eternal choice of God 
may subsist for ever. 1 There has been much debate on this 
matter, but my sole aim is that you should know the significa 
tion of the terms used by the Sufis. I have mentioned some 
of these, e.g., jam* and tafriqa, and fand and baqd, and ghaybat 
and hudilr, and sukr and sahw, in the chapter treating of the 
doctrines of the Sufis, and you must look there for the 
explanation of them. 

Mnsdmarat and Muhddathat, and the difference between them. 
These terms denote two states of the perfect Sufi. Muhd 
dathat (conversation) is really spiritual talk conjoined with 
silence of the tongue, and musdmarat (nocturnal discourse) is 
really continuance of unrestraint (inbisdf) combined with 
concealment of the most secret thoughts (kitmdn-i sirr). The 
outward meaning of musdmarat is a spiritual state (waqtf) 
existing between God and Man at night, and muhddathat js 
a similar state, existing by da}-, in which there is exoteric and 
esoteric conversation. Hence secret prayers (mundjdf] by night 
are called musdmarat, while invocations made by day are called 
muhddathat. The daily state is based on revelation (kashf\ 
and the nightly state on occultation (satr). In love musdmarat 
is more perfect than muhddathat, and is connected with the 
state of the Apostle, when God sent Gabriel to him with 
Buraq and conveyed him by night from Mecca to a space of 

1 Here the author refers to the example of Moses, whose prayer for vision of God 
was refused (Kor. vii, 139), because he was exercising his own choice. 


two bow-lengths from His presence. The Apostle conversed 
secretly with God, and when he reached the goal his tongue 
became dumb before the revelation of God s majesty, and his 
heart was amazed at His infinite greatness, and he said : 
" I cannot tell Thy praise." MuhddatJiat is connected with 
the state of Moses, who, seeking communion with God, after 
forty days came to Mount Sinai and heard the speech of God 
and asked for vision of Him, and failed of his desire. There is 
a plain difference between one who was conducted (Kor. xvii, i) 
and one who came (Kor. vii, 139). Night is the time when 
lovers are alone with each other, and day is the time when 
servants wait upon their masters. When a servant transgresses 
he is reprimanded, but a lover has no law by the transgression 
of which he should incur blame, for lovers cannot do anything 
displeasing to each other. 

al- Yaqin and l Ayn al- Yaqin and Haqq al- Yaqin, and the 

difference between them. 

According to the principles of theology, all these expressions 
denote knowledge (V/w). Knowledge without certain faith 
(yaqiii) in the reality of the object known is not knowledge, 
but when knowledge is gained that which is hidden is as that 
which is actually seen. The believers who shall see God on 
the Day of Judgment shall see Him then in the same wise 
as they know Him now : if they shall see Him otherwise, 
either their vision will be imperfect then or their knowledge 
is faulty now. Both these alternatives are in contradiction 
with unification (tawhid\ which requires that men s knowledge 
of God should be sound to-day and their vision of God should 
be sound to-morrow. Therefore certain knowledge ( //;;/- i yaqiri) 
is like certain sight (^ayn-i yaqiii), and certain truth (Jiaqq-i 
yaqiri) is like certain knowledge. Some have said that ayn 
al-yaqin is the complete absorption (istighrdq) of knowledge 
in vision, but this is impossible, because vision is an instrument 
for the attainment of knowledge, like hearing, etc. : since know 
ledge cannot be absorbed in hearing, its absorption in vision is 


equally impossible. By l ilm al-yaqin the Sufis mean knowledge 
of (religious) practice in this world according to the Divine 
commandments ; by *ayn al-yaqin they mean knowledge of 
the state of dying (naz } and the time of departure fromjthis 
world ; and by haqq al-yaqin they mean intuitive knowledge 
of the vision (of God) that will be revealed in Paradise, and of 
its nature. Therefore ^ilm al-yaqin is the rank of theologians 
( l ulama) on account of their correct observance of the Divine 
commands, and l ayn al-yaqin is the station of gnostics (^drifdn) 
on account of their readiness for death, and haqq al-yaqin is 
the annihilation-point of lovers (dustdii) on account of their 
rejection of all created things. Hence zlvi al-yaqin is obtained 
by self-mortification (inujdhadat\ and ayn al-yaqin by intimate 
familiarity (inu dnasat\ and haqq al-yaqin by contemplation 
(inushdhadaf). The first is vulgar, the second is elect, and the 
third is super-elect (khdss al-khdss). 

//;;/ and Ma rtfat, and the difference between them. 

Theologians have made no distinction between *ilm and 
mtfrifat) except when they say that God may be called l dlim 
(knowing), but not l drif (gnostic), inasmuch as the latter epithet 
lacks Divine blessing. But the Sufi Shaykhs give the name 
of ma rifat (gnosis) to every knowledge that is allied with 
(religious) practice and feeling (hdl), and the knower of which 
expresses his feeling ; and the knower thereof they call drif. 
On the other hand, they give the name of l ilm to every know 
ledge that is stripped of spiritual meaning and devoid of 
religious practice, and one who has such knowledge they call 
dlim. One, then, who knows the meaning and reality of 
a thing they call drif (gnostic), and one who knows merely the 
verbal expression and keeps it in his memory without keeping 
the spiritual reality they call l dlim. For this reason, when the 
Sufis wish to disparage a rival they call him ddnishmand 
(possessing knowledge). To the vulgar this seems objectionable, 
but the Sufis do not intend to blame the man for having 
acquired knowledge, they blame him for neglecting the practice 


of religion, because the dlim depends on himself, but the drif 
depends on his Lord. This question has been discussed at 
length in the chapter entitled " The Removal of the Veil of 
Gnosis ", and I need not say any more now. 

Shari at and Haqiqat, and the difference between them. 

These terms are used by the Sufis to denote soundness of 
the outward state and maintenance of the inward state. Two 
parties err in this matter : firstly, the formal theologians, who 
assert that there is no distinction between sliari at (law) and 
haqiqat (truth), since the Law is the Truth and the Truth is 
the Law ; secondly, some heretics, who hold that it is possible 
for one of these things to subsist without the other, and declare 
that when the Truth is revealed the Law is abolished. T his is 
the doctrine of the Carmathians (Qardniifa)_ and the Shi ites 
and their satamcally inspired lcA\Qwers(jnuwaswisdri)I~~~ The^ 
proof that me" Law is virtually separate from the Truth lies 
in the fact that in faith belief is separate from profession ; and 
the proof that the Law and the Truth are not fundamentally 
separate, but are one, lies in the fact that belief without 
profession is not faith, and conversely profession without belief 
is not faith ; and there is a manifest difference between 
profession and belief. Haqiqat, then, signifies a reality which 
does not admit of abrogation and remains in equal force from 
the time of Adam to the end of the world, like knowledge of 
God and like religious practice, which is made perfect by 
sincere intention ; and sliari at signifies a reality which admits 
of abrogation and alteration, like ordinances and command 
ments. Therefore shari at is Man s act, while haqiqat is God s 
keeping and preservation and protection, whence it follows that 
shari at cannot possibly be maintained without the existence of 
haqiqat, and haqiqat cannot be maintained without observance 
of shari at. Their mutual relation may be compared to that 
of body and spirit : when the spirit departs from the body the 
living body becomes a corpse and the spirit vanishes like wind, 
for their value depends on their conjunction with one another. 


Similarly, the Law without the Truth is ostentation, and the 
Truth without the Law is hypocrisy. God hath said : " Who 
soever mortify themselves for Our sake, We will assuredly 
guide them in Our ways " (Kor. xxix, 69) : mortification is 
Law, guidance is Truth ; the former consists in a man s 
observance of the external ordinances, while the latter consists 
in God s maintenance of a man s spiritual feelings. Hence the 
Law is one of the acts acquired by Man, but the Truth is one 
of the gifts bestowed by God. 

Another class of terms and expressions are used by the 
Sufis metaphorically. These metaphorical terms are more 
difficult to analyse and interpret, but I will explain therri^ 

Haqq. By haqq (truth) the Sufis mean God, for haqq is one 
of the names of God, as He hath said : " This is because God is 
the Truth" (Kor. xxii, 6). 

Haqiqat. By this word they mean a man s dwelling in the 
place of union with God, and the standing of his heart in the 
place of abstraction (tanzih). 

Khatardt. Any judgments of separation (ahkdm-i tafriq) 
that occur to the mind. 

Watandt. Any Divine meanings that make their abode in 
the heart. 

Tarns. Negation of a substance of which some trace is left. 

Ranis. Negation of a substance, together with every trace 
thereof, from the heart. 

Ald iq. Secondary causes to which seekers of God attach 
themselves and thereby fail to gain the object of their desire. 

Wasd it. Secondary causes to which seekers of God attach 
themselves and thereby gain the object of their desire. 

Zawd id. Excess of lights (spiritual illumination) in the 

Fawd id. The apprehension by the spirit of what it cannot 
do without. 

Malja\ The heart s confidence in the attainment of its 

tfEVJti * 

i *y 
\^ \-J 


Manjd. The heart s escape from the place of imperfection. 

Kulliyyat. The absorption (istighrdq) of the attributes of 
humanity in the Universal (kulliyyaf). 

Lawd ih. Affirmation of the object of desire, notwithstanding ^ X 
the advent of the negation thereof (ithbdt-i murdd bd wurtid-i b LD 
nafy-i an). 

Law ami*. The manifestation of (spiritual) light to the heart 
while its acquirements (fawaid} continue to subsist. 

Tawdli*. The appearance of the splendours of (mystical) 
knowledge to the heart. 

Tawdriq. That which comes into the heart, either with glad 
tidings or with rebuke, in secret converse (with God) at night. 

Latd if. A symbol (ishdrati), presented to the heart, of 
subtleties of feeling. 

Sirr. Concealment of feelings of love. 

Najwd. Concealment of imperfections from the knowledge 
of other (than God). 

Ishdrat. Giving information to another of the object of 
desire, without uttering it on the tongue. LHX> a> 

Imd. Addressing anyone allusively, without spoken or 
unspoken explanation (be ibdrat ti ishdraf], 

Wdrid. The descent of spiritual meanings upon the heart. 

Intibdh. The departure of heedlessness from the heart. 

Ishtibdh. Perplexity felt in deciding between truth and 

Qardr. The departure of vacillation from the reality of one s 

Inzi dj. The agitation of the heart in the state of ecstasy 

Another class of technical terms are those which the Sufis 
employ, without metaphor, in unification (tawhid) and in 
setting forth their firm belief in spiritual realities. 

A lam. The term l dlam (world) denotes the creatures of 
God. It is said that there are 18,000 or 50,000 worlds. 
Philosophers say there are two worlds, an upper and a lower, 



while theologians say that dlam is whatever exists between 
the Throne of God and the earth. In short, dlani is the 
collective mass of created things. The Sufis speak of the 
world of spirits (arwdti) and the world of souls (nufiis), but 
they do not mean the same thing as the philosophers. What 
they mean is " the collective mass of spirits and souls ". 

Muhdath. Posterior in existence, i.e. it was not and 
afterwards was. 

Qadiui. Anterior in existence, i.e. it always was, and its 
being was anterior to all beings. This is nothing but God. 

Azal. That which has no beginning. 

Abaci. That which has no end. 

Dhdt. The being and reality of a thing. 

Sifat. That which does not admit of qualification (na t\ 
because it is not self-subsistent. 

Ism. That which is not the object named (ghayr-i 

Tasmiyat. Information concerning the object named. 

Nafy. That which entails the non-existence of every object 
of negation. 

Ithbdt. That which entails the existence of every object of 

Siyydn. The possibility of the existence of one thing with 

Didddn. The impossibility of the existence of one thing 
simultaneously with the existence of another. 

G hay ran. The possibility of the existence of either of two 
things, notwithstanding the annihilation of the other. 

Jaivhar. The basis (asl) of a thing ; that which is self- 

Arad. That which subsists mjawkar (substance). 

Jism. That which is composed of separate parts. 

Su dl. Seeking a reality. 

Jawdb. Giving information concerning the subject-matter ot 
a question (su a/). 

Husn. That which is conformable to the (Divine) command. 


Qubh. That which is not conformable to the (Divine) 

Safah. Neglect of the (Divine) command. 

Zulm. Putting a thing in a place that is not worthy of it. 

Adi. Putting everything in its proper place. 

Malik. He with whose actions it is impossible to interfere. 

Another class of terms requiring explanation are those which 
are commonly used by the Sufis in a mystical sense that is not 
familiar to philologists. 

Khatir. By kJtdtir (passing thought) the Sufis signify the 
occurrence in the mind of something which is quickly removed 
by another thought, and which its owner is able to repel from 
his mind. Those who have such thoughts follow the first 
thought in matters which come directly from God to Man. It 
is said that the thought occurred to Khayr Nassaj that Junayd 
was waiting at his door, but he wished to repel it. The same 
thought returned twice and thrice, whereupon he went out and 
discovered Junayd, who said to him: " If you had followed the 
first thought it would not have been necessary for me to stand 
here all this time." How was Junayd acquainted with the 
thought which occurred to Khayr? This question has been 
asked, and has been answered by the remark that Junayd was 
Khayr s spiritual director, and a spiritual director cannot 
fail to be acquainted with all that happens to one of his 

Wdqi a. By wdqi a they signify a thought which appears in 
the mind and remains there, unlike k/idtir, and which the seeker 
has no means whatever of repelling- : thus they say, khatara 
aldqalbl, " it occurred to my mind," but waqa a fi qalbi, " it 
sank into my mind." All minds are subject to khdtir (passing 
thought), but ivdqi a is possible only in a mind that is entirely 
filled with the notion of God. Hence, when any obstacle appears 
to the novice on the Way to God, they call it " a fetter" (qayd) 
and say : " A wdqi a has befallen him." Philologists also use 
the term wdqi a to signify any difficult question, and when it is 



answered satisfactorily they say, wdqi a hall shud, "the difficulty 
is solved." But the mystics say that wdqi a is that which is 
insoluble, and that whatever is solved is a khdtir, not a wdqi a, 
since the obstacles which confront mystics are not unimportant 
matters on which varying judgments are continually being 

Ikhtiydr. By ikhtiydr they signify their preference of God s 
choice to their own, i.e. they are content with the good and 
evil which God has chosen for them. A man s preference of 
God s choice is itself the result of God s choice, for unless God 
had caused him to have no choice, he would never have let his 
own choice go. When Abu Yazi d was asked, " Who is the 
prince (amir} ? " he replied, " He to whom no choice is left, 
and to whom God s choice has become the only choice." It is 
related that Junayd, having caught fever, implored God to give 
him health. A voice spoke in his heart : " Who art thou to 
plead in My kingdom and make a choice ? I can manage My 
kingdom better than thou. Do thou choose My choice instead 
of coming forward with thine." 

Itntihdn. By this expression they signify the probation of 
the hearts of the saints by diverse afflictions which come to 
them from God, such as fear, grief, contraction, awe, etc. God 
hath said : " They whose hearts God hath proved for piety s sake : 
they shall win pardon and a great reivard" (Kor. xlix, 3). This 
is a lofty grade. 

Bald. By bald (affliction) they signify the probation of the 
bodies of God s friends by diverse troubles and sicknesses and 
tribulations. The more severely a man is afflicted the nearer 
does he approach unto God, for affliction is the vesture ^ofjhe 
saints and the cradle of the pure and the nourishment of the 
prophets. The Apostle said, " We prophets are the most 
afflicted of mankind ; " and he also said, " The prophets are the 
most afflicted of mankind, then the saints, and then other men 
according to their respective ranks." Bald is the name of 
.a tribulation, which descends on the heart and body of a true 
believer and which is really a blessing ; and inasmuch as 


the mystery thereof is concealed from him, he is divinely 
recompensed for supporting the pams thereof. Tribulation 
that befalls unbelievers is not affliction (bald), but misery 
(shaqdwaf), and unbelievers never obtain relief from misery. 
The degree of bald is more honourable than that of imtihdn, 
for imtihdn affects the heart only, whereas bald affects both the 
heart and the body and is thus more powerful. 

Tahalli. Imitation of praiseworthy people iu word and deed. 
The Apostle said : " Faith is not acquired by tahalli (adorning 
one s self with the qualities of others) and tamanni (wishing), 
but it is that which sinks deep into the heart and is verified 
by action." Tahalli, then, is to imitate people without really 
acting like them. Those who seem to be what they are 
not will soon be put to shame, and their secret character will 
be revealed. In the view of spiritualists, however, they are 
already disgraced and their secret character is clear. 

TajallL The blessed effect of Divine illumination on the 
hearts of the blest, whereby they are made capable of seeing 
God with their hearts. The difference between spiritual vision 
(ru yat ba-dil) and actual vision (i iiyat-i iydti) is this, that 
those who experience tajalll (manifestation of God) see or do 
not see, according as they wish, or see at one time and do not 
see at another time, while those who experience actual vision 
in Paradise cannot but see, even though they wish not to see ; 
for it is possible that tajallt should be hidden, whereas ntyat 
(vision) cannot possibly be veiled. 

Takhalli. Turning away from distractions which prevent 
a man from attaining to God. One of these is the present world, 
of which he should empty his hands ; another is desire for the 
next world, of which he should empty his heart ; a third is 
indulgence in vanity, of which he should empty his spirit ; and 
a fourth is association with created beings, of which he should 
empty himself and from the thought of which he should dis 
engage his mind. 

Shurud. The meaning of shunid is " seeking restlessly to 
escape from (worldly) corruptions and veils " ; for all the 


misfortunes of the seeker arise from his being veiled, and when 
the veil is lifted he becomes united with God. The Sufis apply 
the term shurud to his becoming unveiled (isfdr) and his using 
every resource for that purpose ; for in the beginning, i.e. in 
search, he is more restless ; in the end, i e. in union, he becomes 
more steadfast. 

Qustid. By qusM (aims) they signify perfect resolution to 
seek the reality of the object of search. The aims of the Sufi s 
do not depend on motion and rest, because the lover, although 
he be at rest in love, is still pursuing an aim (qdsid). In this 
respect the Sufis differ from ordinary men, whose aims produce 
in them some effect outwardly or inwardly ; whereas the lovers 
of God seek Him without any cause and pursue their aim 
without movement of their own, and all their qualities are 
directed towards that goal. Where love exists, all is an aim. 

Istind 1 . By this term they mean that God makes a man 
faultless through the annihilation of all his selfish interests and 
sensual pleasures, and transforms in him the attributes of his 
lower soul, so that he becomes selfless. This degree belongs 
exclusively to the prophets, but some Shaykhs hold that it may 
be attained by the saints also. 

Istifd. This signifies that God makes a man s heart empty 
to receive the knowledge of Himself, so that His knowledge 
(ma rifat) diffuses its purity through his heart. In this degree 
all believers, the vulgar as well as the elect, are alike, whether 
they are sinful or pious or saints or prophets, for God hath said : 
" We have given the Book as a heritage unto those of our servants 
whom We have chosen (istafayna) : some of them are they who 
injure their own souls ; some are they who keep the mean ; and 
some are they who excel in good works " (Kor. xxxv, 29). 

Istildm. The manifestations (tajalliydf) of God which cause 
a man to be entirely overpowered by a merciful probation 
(imtthdri), while his will is reduced to naught. Qalb-i mumtahan, 
" a proved heart," and qalb-i mustalam, " a destroyed heart," 
bear the same meaning, although in the current usage of Sufi 
phraseology istildm is more particular and exquisite than imtihdn. 


Rayn. A veil on the heart, i.e. the veil of infidelity and error, 
which cannot be removed except by faith. God hath said, 
describing the hearts of the unbelievers (Kor. Ixxxiii, 14) : "By 
no means, but what they used to do hath covered their hearts" 
(rana ala qulubihim). Some have said that rayn cannot possibly 
be removed in any manner, since the hearts of unbelievers are 
not capable of receiving Islam, and those who do receive it must 
have been, in the foreknowledge of God, true believers. 

Ghayn. A veil on the heart which is removed by asking 
pardon of God. It may be either thin or dense. The latter is 
for those who forget (God) and commit great sins; the former is 
for all, not excepting saint or prophet. Did not the Apostle 
say, " Verily, my heart is obscured {yughdnu aid qalbi\ and 
verily I ask pardon of God a hundred times every day." For 
removing the dense veil a proper repentance is necessary, and 
for removing the thin veil a sincere return to God. Repentance 
(tawbaf) is a turning back from disobedience to obedience, and 
return (rujtf} is a turning back from self to God. Repentance 
is repentance from sin : the sin of common men is opposition to 
God s command, while the sin of lovers (of God) is opposition 
to God s will : therefore, the sin of common men is disobedience, 
and that of lovers is consciousness of their own existence. If 
anyone turns back from wrong to right, they say, " He is 
repentant (td iti) ; " but if anyone turns back from what is right 
to what is more right, they say, " He is returning (# #)." All 
this I have set forth in the chapter on repentance. 

Talbis. They denote by talbis the appearance of a thing 
when its appearance is contrary to its reality, as God hath said : 
" We should assuredly have deceived them (lalabasna alayhim) 
as they deceive others" (Kor. vi, 9). This quality of deception 
cannot possibly belong to anyone except God, who shows the 
unbeliever in the guise of a believer and the believer in the guise 
of an unbeliever, until the time shall come for the manifestation 
of His decree and of the reality in every case. When a Sufi 
conceals good qualities under a mask of bad, they say : " He is 
practising deception (talbts)" but they use this term in such 


instances only, and do not apply it to ostentation and hypocrisy, 
which are fundamentally talbts, because talbis is not used except 
in reference to an act performed by God. 

S/iurb. The Sufi s call the sweetness of piety and the delight 
of miraculous grace and the pleasure of intimacy shurb 
(drinking) ; and they can do nothing without the delight of 
shurb. As the body s drink is of water, so the heart s drink is 
of (spiritual) pleasure and sweetness. My Shaykh used to say 
that a novice without shurb is a stranger to (i.e. unacquainted 
with the duties of) the novitiate, and that a gnostic with shurb 
is a stranger to gnosis, because the novice must derive some 
pleasure (shurbi} from his actions in order that he may fulfil 
the obligations of a novice who is seeking God ; but the gnostic 
ought not to feel such pleasure, lest he should be transported 
with that pleasure instead of with God : if he turn back to his 
lower soul he will not rest (with God). 

Dhawq. Dhawq resembles shurb, but shurb is used solely in 
reference to pleasures, whereas dhawq is applied to pleasure and 
pain alike. One says dhuqtu l-haldwat, " I tasted sweetness," 
and dhuqtu l-bald, " I tasted affliction ; " but of sliurb they say, 
sharibtu bi-kdsi l-wasl, " I drank the cup of union," and sharibtu 
bi-kdsi l-wudd, " I drank the cup of love," and so forth. 1 

1 This distinction between shurb and dhawq is illustrated by citations from the 
Koran, viz., Hi, 19; xliv, 49; and liv, 48. 


AUDITION (samd }. 

The means of acquiring knowledge are five : hearing, sight, 
taste, smell, and touch. God has created for the mind these 
five avenues, and has made every kind of knowledge depend on 
one of them. Four of the five senses are situated in a special 
organ, but one, namely touch, is diffused over the whole body. 
It is possible, however, that this diffusion, which is characteristic 
of touch, may be shared by any of the other senses. The 
Mu tazilites hold that no sense can exist but in a special organ 
(inahall-i makhstis\ a theory which is controverted by the fact 
that the sense of touch has no such organ. Since one of the 
five senses has no special organ, it follows that, if the sense of 
touch is generally diffused, the other senses may be capable of 
the same diffusion. Although it is not my purpose to discuss 
this question here, I thought a brief explanation necessary. 
God has sent Apostles with true evidences, but belief in His 
Apostles does not become obligatory until the obligatoriness of 
knowing God is ascertained by means of hearing. It is hearing, 
then, that makes religion obligatory ; and for this reason the 
Sunnis regard hearing as superior to sight in the domain of 
religious obligation (taklif}. If it be said that vision of God is 
better than hearing His word, I reply that our knowledge of 
God s visibility to the faithful in Paradise is derived from 
hearing : it is a matter of indifference whether the understanding 
allows that God shall be visible or not, inasmuch as we are 
assured of the fact by oral tradition. Hence hearing is superior 
to sight. Moreover, all religious ordinances are based on 
hearing and could not be established without it and all the 
prophets on their appearance first spoke in order that those 


who heard them might believe, then in the second place they 
showed miracles (inrfjiza), which also were corroborated by 
hearing. What has been said proves that anyone who denies 
audition denies the entire religious law. 

Chapter on the Audition of the Koran and kindred matters. 

The most beneficial audition to the mind and the most 
delightful to the ear is that of the Word of God, which all 
believers and unbelievers, human beings and pen s alike, are 
commanded to hear. It_js a miraculous quality of the_Koran 
that one never grows weary of reading and hearing it, so that 
the Quraysh used lo come secretly by night and listen to the 
Apostle while he was praying and marvel at his recitation, e.g., 
Nadr b. al-Harith, who was the most elegant of them in speech, 
and Utba b. Rabi a, who was bewitchingly eloquent, and Abu 
Jahl b. Hisham, who was a wondrous orator. One night Utba 
swooned on hearing the Apostle recite a chapter of the Koran, 
and he said to Abu Jahl : " I am sure that these are not the 
words of any created being." The peris also came and listened 
to the Word of God, and said : " Verily, we heard a marvellous 
recitation, which guides to the right way ; and we shall not 
associate anyone with our Lord" (Kor. Ixxii, I-2). 1 It is related 
that a man recited in the presence of Abdallah b. Hanzala : 
"They shall have a couch of Hell-fire, and above them shall be 
quilts thereof" (Kor. vii, 39). Abdallah began to weep so 
violently that, to quote the narrator s words, "I thought life 
would depart from him." Then he rose to his feet. They bade 
him sit down, but he cried : " Awe of this verse prevents me 
from sitting down." It is related that the following verse was 
read in the presence of Junayd : " O believers, why say ye that 
which ye do not?" (Kor. Ixi, 2). Junayd said : "O Lord, if we 
say, we say because of Thee, and if we do, we do because of 
Thy blessing: where, then, is our saying and doing?" It is 
related that Shibli said, on hearing the verse "And remember 

1 After a further eulogy of the inimitable style of the Koran, the author relates the 
story of Umar s conversion. 


thy Lord when thou forgettest" (Kor. xviii, 23), "Remembrance 
(of God) involves forgetfulness (of self), and all the world have 
stopped short at the remembrance of Him ; " then he shrieked 
and fell senseless. When he came to himself, he said : 
" I wonder at the sinner who can hear God s Word and remain 
unmoved." A certain Shaykh says : " Once I was reading the 
Word of God, Beware of a day on which ye shall be returned 
unffTGod* (Kor. ii, 281). A heavenly voice called to me, Do 
not read so loud ; four peris have died from the terror inspired 
in them by this verse ." A dervish said : " For the last ten 
years I have not read nor heard the Koran except that small 
portion thereof which is used in prayer." On being asked why, 
he answered : " For fear lest it should be cited as an argument 
against me." One day I came into the presence of Shaykh 
Abu l- Abbas Shaqani and found him reading: " God pro- 
poundeth as a parable an owned slave who hath naught in his 
power" (Kor. xvi, 77), and weeping and shrieking, so that he 
swooned and I thought he was dead. " O Shaykh," I cried, 
"what ails thee?" He said: "After eleven years I have 
reached this point in my set portion of the Koran and am 
unable to proceed farther." Abu l- Abbas b. Ata was asked 
how much of the Koran he read daily. He answered : 
" Formerly I used to read the whole Koran twice in a day and 
night, but now after reading for fourteen years I have only 
reached the Stirat al-Anfdl" 1 It is related that Abu l- Abbas 
Qassab said to a Koran-reader, "Recite," whereupon he recited : 
" O noble one, famine hath befallen us and our people, and zve are 
come with a petty merchandise" (Kor. xii, 88). He said once 
more, " Recite," whereupon the reader recited : " If he stole, 
a brother of his hath stolen heretofore" (Kor. xii, 77). Abu 1- 
Abbas bade him recite a third time, so he recited: "No blame 
shall be laid upon you this day : God forgive th you" etc. 
(Kor. xii, 92). Abu l- Abbas cried : " O Lord, I am more 
unjust than Joseph s brethren, and Thou art more kind than 
Joseph : deal with me as he dealt with his wicked brethren." 

1 The chapter of the Spoils, a title given to the eighth chapter of the Koran. 


All Moslems, pious and disobedient alike, are commanded to 
listen to the Koran, for God hath said : " When the Koran is 
recited hearken thereto and be silent that perchance ye may win 
mercy" (Kor. vii, 2O3). 1 And it is related that the Apostle 
said to Ibn Mas ud : "Recite the Koran to me." Ibn Mas ud 
said : " Shall I recite it to thee, to whom it was revealed ? " 
The Apostle answered : " I wish to hear it from another." This 
is a clear proof that the hearer is more perfect in state than the 
reader, for the reader may recite with or without true feeling, 
whereas the hearer feels truly, because speech is a sort of pride 
and hearing is a sort of humility. The Apostle also said that the 
chapter of Hud had whitened his hair. It is explained that 
he said this because of the verse at the end of that chapter : 
"Be thou steadfast, therefore, as thou hast been commanded" 
(Kor. xi, 1 14), for Man is unable to be really steadfast in 
fulfilling the Divine commandments, inasmuch as he can do 
nothing without God s help. 2 


Zurara b. Abi Awfa, one of the chief Companions of the 
Apostle, while he was presiding over the public worship, recited 
a verse of the Koran, uttered a cry, and died. Abu Ja far 
Juhanf, 3 an eminent Follower, on hearing a verse which Salih 
Mum 4 read to him, gave a loud moan and departed from this 
world. Ibrahim Nakha i 5 relates that while he was passing 
through a village in the neighbourhood of Kufa he saw an old 
woman standing in prayer. As the marks of holiness were 
manifest on her countenance, he waited until she finished 

1 Here the author quotes a number of Koranic verses in which the faithful are 
enjoined to listen needfully to the recitation of the sacred volume, or are rebuked for 
their want of attention. 

2 I have omitted here a story related by Abu Sa id al-Khudri concerning 
Muhammad s interview with a party of destitute refugees (muhdjiruii}, to whom the 
Koran was being read. 

3 BI. Abu Juhayn, J. Abu Juham. 

4 Sha rani, Tabaqdt al-Kubra, i, 60. 

5 Ibn Khallikan, No. i. 


praying and then saluted her in hope of gaining a blessing 
thereby. She said to him, " Dost thou know the Koran ? " 
He said, "Yes." She said, "Recite a verse." He did so, 
whereupon she cried aloud and sent her soul forth to meet the 
vision of God. Ahmad b. Abi 1-Hawari relates the following 
tale. " I saw in the desert a youth, clad in a coarse frock, 
standing at the mouth of a well. He said to me : O Ahmad, 
thou art come in good time, for I must needs hear the Koran, 
that I may give up my soul. Read me a verse. God inspired 
me to read, * Verily, those who say, " God is our Lord" and then 
are steadfast (Kor. xli, 30). O Ahmad, said he, * by the Lord 
of the Ka ba thou hast read the same verse which an angel 
was reading to me just now, and with these words he gave up 
his soul." 

Chapter on the Audition of Poetry, etc. 

It is permissible to hear poetry. The Apostle heard it, and 
the Tx)mpanions not only heard it but also spoke it. The 
Apostle said, " Some poetry is wisdom ; " and he said, " Wisdom 
is the believer s lost she-camel : wherever he finds her, he has 
the best right to her ; " and he said too, " The truest word ever 
spoken by the Arabs is the verse of Labi d, 

Everything except God is vain, 
And all fortune is inevitably fleeting?" 

<Amr b. al-Sharid 1 relates that his father said : "The Apostle 
asked me whether I could recite any poetry of Umayya b. Abi 1- 
Salt, so I recited a hundred verses, and at the end of each verse 
he cried, Go on ! He said that Umayya almost became 
a Moslem in his poetry." Many such stories are told of the 
Apostle and the Companions. Erroneous views are prevalent 
on this subject. Some declare that it is unlawful to listen to any 
poetry whatever, and pass their lives in defaming their brother 
Moslems. Some^p_n the contrary, hold that all poetry is lawful, 
and L spend their time in listening to love-songs and descriptions 

1 B. al-Rashid. 


of the face and hair and mole of the beloved. I do not intend 
to discuss the arguments which both parties in this controversy 
bring forward against each other. The Sufi Shaykhs follow the 
example of the Apostle, who, on being asked about poetry, 
said: "What is good thereof is good and what is bad thereof is 
bad," i.e., whatever is unlawful, like backbiting and calumny and 
foul abuse and blame of any person and utterance of infidelity, 
is equally unlawful whether it be expressed in prose or in verse ; 
and whatever is lawful in prose, like morality and exhortations 
and inferences drawn from the signs of God and contemplation 
of the evidences of the Truth, is no less lawful in verse. In^fine, 
just as it is unlawful and forbidden to look at or touch a beautiful 
object which is a source of evil, so it is unlawful and forbidden 
to listen to that object or, similarly, to hear the description of it. 
Those who regard such hearing as absolutely lawful must also 
regard looking and touching as lawful, which is infidelity and 
heresy. If one says, " I hear only God and seek only God in 
eye and cheek and mole and curl," it follows that another may 
look at a cheek and mole and say that he sees and seeks God 
alone, because both the eye and the ear are sources of admonition 
and knowledge jj^henjinother may say that in touching a person, 
whose description it is thought allowable to hear and whom 
it is thought allowable to behold, he, too, is only seeking God, 
since one sense is no better adapted than another to apprehend 
a reality ; then the whole religious law is made null and void, 
and the Apostle s saying that the eyes commit fornication loses 
all its force, and the blame of touching persons with whom 
marriage may legally be contracted is removed, and the 
ordinances of religion fall to the ground. Foolish aspirants to 
Sufiism, seeing the adepts absorbed in ecstasy during audition 
(sama ), imagined that they were acting from a sensual impulse 
and said, " It is lawful, else they would not have done so," and 
imitated them, taking up the form but neglecting the spirit, 
until they perished themselves and led others into perdition. 
This is one of the great evils of our time. I will set it forth 
completely in the proper place. 


Chapter on the Audition of Voices and Melodies. 

The Apostle said, " Beautify your voices by reading the 
Koran aloud;" and God hath said, " God addeth unto HTs 
creatures what He pleaseth" (Kor. xxxv, i), meaning, as the 
commentators think, a beautiful voice ; and the Apostle said, 
" Whoso wishes to hear the voice of David, let him listen to the 
voice of Abu Musa al-Ash ari." It is stated in well-known 
traditions that the inhabitants of Paradise enjoy audition, for 
there comes forth from every tree a different voice and melody. 
When diverse sounds are mingled together, the natural tempera 
ment experiences a great delight. This sort of audition is 
common to all living creatures, because the spirit is subtle, 
and there is a subtlety in sounds, so that when they are heard 
the spirit inclines to that which is homogeneous with itself. 
Physicians and those philosophers who claim to possess a 
profound knowledge of the truth have discussed this subject 
at large and have written books on musical harmony. The 
results of their invention are manifest to-day in the musical 
instruments which have been contrived for the sake of exciting 
passion and procuring amusement and pleasure, in accord with 
Satan, and so skilfully that (as the story is told) one day, 
when Ishdq of Mawsil J was playing in a garden, a nightingale, 
enraptured with the music, broke off its song in order to listen, 
and dropped dead from the bough. I have heard many tales 
of this kind, but my only purpose is to mention the theory that 
the temperaments of all living creatures are composed of sounds 
and melodies blended and harmonized. Ibrahim Khawwas says : 
"Once I came to an Arab tribe and alighted at the hospitable 
abode of one of their chiefs. I saw a negro lying, shackled and 
chained, at the tent door in the heat of the sun. I felt pity for 
him and resolved to intercede with the chief on his behalf. 
When food was brought for my entertainment I refused to eat, 
knowing that nothing grieves an Arab more than this. The 

1 Aghdni, 5, 52-131. 


chief asked me why I refused, and I answered that I hoped his 
generosity would grant me a boon. He begged me to eat, 
assuring me that all he possessed was mine. I do not want 
your wealth, I said, but pardon this slave for my sake. * First 
hear what his offence was, the chief replied, * then remove his 
chains. This slave is a camel-driver, and he has a sweet voice. 
I sent him with a few camels to my estates, to fetch me some 
corn. He put a double load on every camel and chanted so 
sweetly on the way that the camels ran at full speed. They 
returned hither in a short time, and as soon as he unloaded 
them they died one after another. O prince, I cried in 
astonishment, a nobleman like you does not speak falsely, 
but I wish for some evidence of this tale. While we talked 
a number of camels were brought from the desert to the wells, 
that they might drink. The chief inquired how long they had 
gone without water. Three days, was the reply. He then 
commanded the slave to chant. The camels became so occupied 
in listening to his song that they would not drink a mouthful of 
water, and suddenly they turned and fled, one by one, and 
dispersed in the desert. The chieftain released the slave and 
pardoned him for my sake." 

We often see, for example, how camels and asses are affected 
with delight when their drivers trill an air. In Khurasan and 
Irdq it is the custom for hunters, when hunting deer (dhii} at 
night, to beat on a basin of brass (Jashtf) in order that the deer 
may stand still, listening to the sound, and thus be caught. 
And in India, as is well known, some people go out to the open 
country and sing and make a tinkling sound, on hearing which 
the deer approach ; then the hunters encircle them and sing, 
until the deer are lulled to sleep by the delightful melody 
and are easily captured. The same effect is manifest in young 
children who cease crying in the cradle when a tune is sung to 
them, and listen to the tune. Physicians say of such a child 
that he is sensible and will be clever when he grows up. On 
the death of one of the ancient kings of Persia his ministers 
wished to enthrone his son, who was a child two years old. 


Buzurjmihr, 1 on being consulted, said : " Very good, but we 
must make trial whether he is sensible," and ordered singers to 
sing to him. The child was stirred with emotion and began 
to shake his arms and legs. Buzurjmihr declared that this was 
a hopeful sign and consented to his succession. 

says that he finds no pleasure in sounds and melodies and 
music is either a liar and a hypocrite or he is not in his right 
senses, and is outside of the category of men and beasts. Those 
who prohibit music do so in order that they may keep the 
Divine commandment, but theologians are agreed that it is 
permissible to hear musical instruments if they are not used for 
diversion, and if the mind is not led to wickedness through 
hearing them. Many traditions are cited in support of this 
view. Thus, it is related that A isha said : " A slave-girl was 
singing in my house when Umar asked leave to enter. As 
soon as she heard his step she ran away. He came in and the 
Apostle smiled. O Apostle of God, cried Umar, what hath 
made thee smile ? The Apostle answered, A slave-girl was 
singing here, but she ran away as soon as she heard thy step. 
I will not depart, said Umar, until I hear what the Apostle 
heard. So the Apostle called the girl back and she began to 
sing, the Apostle listening to her." Many of the Companions 
have related similar traditions, which Abu ( Abd al- Rahman 
al-Sulami has collected in his Kitdb al-Samd 2 ; and he has 
pronounced such audition to be permissible. In practising 
audition, however, the Sufi Shaykhs desire, not permissibility as 
the vulgar do, but spiritual advantages. Licence is proper for 
beasts, but men who are subject to the obligations of religion 
ought to seek spiritual benefit from their actions. Once, when 
I was at Merv, one of the leaders of the Ahl-i hadith* and the 
most celebrated of them all said to me : "I have composed 
a work on the permissibility of audition." I replied : " It is 

1 The vizier of Khusraw Nushirwan, the great Sasanian king of Persia (531-78 A.D.). 

2 The Book of A tidition . 

3 "The followers of Tradition" as opposed to "the followers of Opinion" 
(ahl-i ra y}. 

2 D 


a great calamity to religion that the Imam should have made 
lawful an amusement which is the root of all immorality." " If 
you do not hold it to be lawful," said he, " why do you practise 
it ? " I answered : " Its lawfulness depends on circumstances 
and cannot be asserted absolutely : if audition produces a lawful 
effect on the mind, then it is lawful ; it is unlawful if the effect 
is unlawful, and permissible if the effect is permissible." 

Chapter on the Principles of Audition. 

You must know that the principles of audition vary with the 
variety of temperaments, just as there are different desires in 
various hearts, and it is tyranny to lay down one law for all. 
Auditors (mustami anjmay be divided into two classes: (i) those 
who hear the spiritual meaning, (2) those who hear the material 
sound. There are good and evil results in each case. Listening 
to sweet sounds produces an effervescence (jrhalaydri) of the 
substance moulded in Man : true (Jwqq) if the substance be 
true, false (bdtil) if the substance be false. When the stuff of 
a man s temperament is evil, that which he hears will be evil 
too. The whole of this topic is illustrated by the story of 
David, whom God made His vicegerent and gave him a sweet 
voice and caused his throat to be a melodious pipe, so that 
wild beasts and birds came from mountain and plain to hear 
him, and the water ceased to flow and the birds fell from the 
air. It is related that during a month s space the people who 
were gathered round him in the desert ate no food, and the 
children neither wept nor asked for milk ; and whenever the 
folk departed it was found that many had died of the rapture 
that seized them as they listened to his voice : one time, it is 
said, the tale of the dead amounted to seven hundred maidens 
and twelve thousand old men. Then God, wishing to separate 
those who listened to the voice and followed their temperament 
from the followers of the truth (ahl-i haqq) who listened to the 
spiritual reality, permitted Iblis to work his will and display 
his wiles. Iblis fashioned a mandoline and a flute and took 
up a station opposite to the place where David was singing. 


David s audience became divided into two parties : the blest and 
the damned. Those who were destined to damnation lent ear 
to the music of Iblis, while those who were destined to felicity 
remained listening to the voice of David. The spiritualists 
(ahl-i mctnf) were conscious of nothing except David s voice, 
for they saw God alone ; if they heard the Devil s music, they 
regarded it as a temptation proceeding from God, and if they 
heard David s voice, they recognized it as being a direction from 
God ; wherefore they abandoned all things that are merely 
subsidiary and saw both right and wrong as they really are. 
When a man has audition of this kind, whatever he hears is 
lawful to him. Some impostors, however, say that their audition 
is contrary to the reality. This is absurd, for the perfection of 
saintship consists in seeing everything as it really is, that the 
vision may be right ; if you see otherwise, the vision is wrong. 
The Apostle said : " O God, let us see things as they are." 
Similarly, right audition consists in hearing everything as it is 
in quality and predicament. The reason why men are seduced 
and their passions excited by musical instruments is that they 
hear unreally : if their audition corresponded with the reality, 
they would escape from all evil consequences. The people of 
error heard the word of God, and their error waxed greater 
than before. Some of them quoted " The eyes attain not unto 
Him" (Kor. vi, 103) as a demonstration that there shall be no 
vision of God ; some cited " Then He settled Himself on the 
throne" (Kor. vii, 52) to prove that position and direction may 
be affirmed of Him ; and some argued that God actually 
"comes", since He has said, "And thy Lord shall come and 
the angels rank by rank" (Kor. Ixxxix, 23). Inasmuch as error 
was implanted in their minds, it profited them nothing to hear 
the Word of God. The Unitarian, on the other hand, when 
he peruses a poem, regards the Creator of the poet s nature 
and the Disposer of his thoughts, and drawing an admonition 
therefrom, sees in the act an evidence of the Agent. Thus he 
finds the right way even in falsehood, while those whom we have 
mentioned above lose the way in the midst of truth. 



The Shaykhs have uttered many sayings on this subject. 
Dhu 1-Nun the Egyptian says : " Audition is a Divine influence 
(wdrid al-haqq] which stirs the heart to seek God : those who 
listen to it spiritually (ba-haqq) attain unto God (tahaqqaqa], 
and those who listen to it sensually (ba-nafs] fall into heresy 
(tazandaqa)" This venerable Sufi does not mean that audition 
is the cause of attaining unto God, but he means that the 
auditor ought to hear the spiritual reality, not the mere sound, 
and that the Divine influence ought to sink into his heart and 
stir it up. One who in that audition follows the truth will 
experience a revelation, whereas one who follows his lower soul 
(iiafs] will be veiled and will have recourse to interpretation 
(ta wtr). Zandaqa (heresy) is a Persian word which has been 
Arabicized. In the Arabic tongue it signifies "interpretation". 
Accordingly, the Persians call the commentary on their Book 
Zand il Pdzand. 1 The philologists, wishing to give a name to 
the descendants of the Magians, called them zindiq on the 
ground of their assertion that everything stated by the Moslems 
has an esoteric interpretation, which destroys its external sense. 
At the present day the Shi ites of Egypt, who are the remnant 
of these Magians, make the same assertion. Hence the word 
zindiq came to be applied to them as a proper name. Dhu l- 
Nun, by using this term, intended to declare that spiritualists 
in audition penetrate to the reality, while sensualists make 
a far-fetched interpretation and thereby fall into wickedness. 
Shibli says : " Audition is outwardly a temptation (fituaf) and 
inwardly an admonition ^ibraf) : he who knows the mystic 
sign (ishdraf) may lawfully hear the admonition ; otherwise, he 
has invited temptation and exposed himself to calamity," 
i.e. audition is calamitous and a source of evil to anyone whose 
whole heart is not absorbed in the thought of God. Abu All 
Rudbari said, in answer to a man who questioned him concerning 
audition : " Would that I were rid of it entirely ! " because Man 

1 See Professor Browne s Literary History of Persia, i, 81. 


is unable to do everything as it ought to be done, and when he 
fails to do a thing duly he perceives that he has failed and 
wishes to be rid of it altogether. One of_the_ Shaykhs_says : 
"Audition is that which makes the heart aware of the things in 
it that produce absence" (md ft/id mina 1-uiugJiayyibdt), so that 
the effect thereof is to make the heart present with God. 
Absence (ghaybat) is a most blameworthy quality of thejieart. 
The lover, though absent from his Beloved, must be present 
with him in heart ; if he be absent in heart, his love is gone. My 
Shaykh said : " Audition is the viaticum of the indigent : one 
who has reached his journey s end hath no need of it," because 
hearing can perform no function where union is ; news is heard 
of the absent, but hearing is naught when two are face to face. 
Husri says: "What avails an audition that ceases whenever 
the person whom thou nearest becomes silent? It is necessary 
that thy audition should be continuous and uninterrupted." 
This saying is a token of the concentration of his thoughts 
in the field of love. When a man attains so high a degree as 
this he hears (spiritual truths) from every object in the 

Chapter on the various opinions respecting Audition. 

The Shaykhs and spiritualists hold different views as to 
audition. Some say that it is a faculty appertaining to absence, 
for in contemplation (of God) audition is impossible, inasmuch 
as the lover who is united with his Beloved fixes his gaze on 
Him and does not need to listen to him ; therefore, audition is 
a faculty of beginners which they employ, when distracted by 
forgetfulness, in order to obtain concentration ; but one who is 
already concentrated will inevitably be distracted thereby. 
Others, again, say that audition is a faculty appertaining to 
presence (with God), because love demands all ; until the whole 
of the lover is absorbed in the whole of the Beloved, he is 
deficient in love : therefore, as in union the heart (dif) has love 
and the soul (sirr) has contemplation and the spirit has union 
and the body has service, so the ear also must have such 


a pleasure as the eye derives from seeing. How excellent, 
though on a frivolous topic, are the words of the poet who 
declared his love for wine ! 

" Give me wine to drink and tell me it is wine. 
Do not give it me in secret , when it can be given openly" J 

i.e., let my eye see it and my hand touch it and my palate taste 
it and my nose smell it : there yet remains one sense to be 
gratified, viz. my hearing : tell me, therefore, this is wine, that 
my ear may feel the same delight as my other senses. And 
they say that audition appertains to presence with God, because 
he who is absent from God is a disbeliever (mtmkir), and those 
who disbelieve are not worthy to enjoy audition. Accordingly, 
there are two kinds of audition : mediate and immediate. 
Audition of which a reciter (qdri} is the source is a faculty of 
absence, but audition of which the Beloved (ydri} is the source 
is a faculty of presence. It was on this account that a well- 
known spiritual director said : " I will not put any created 
beings, except the chosen men of God, in a place where I can 
hear their talk or converse with them." 

Chapter concerning their different grades in the reality of 


You must know that each Sufi has a particular grade in 
audition and that the feelings which he gains therefrom are 
proportionate to his grade. Thus, whatever is heard by 
penitents augments their contrition and remorse ; whatever is 
heard by longing lovers increases their longing for vision ; 
whatever is heard by those who have certain faith confirms their 
certainty ; whatever is heard by novices verifies their elucidation 
(of matters which perplex them) ; whatever is heard by lovers 
impels them to cut off all worldly connexions ; and whatever is 
heard by the spiritually poor forms a foundation for hopelessness. 
Audition is like the sun, which shines on all things but affects 

1 Abu Nuwas, Die Weinlieder, ed. by Ahlwardt, No. 29, verse I. 


them differently according to their degree : it burns or illumines 
or dissolves or nurtures. All the classes that I have mentioned 
are included in the three following grades : beginners (mubta- 
diydn\ middlemen (inutawassitdn), and adepts (kdmildn). 
I will now insert a section treating of the state of each of these 
three grades in regard to audition, that you may understand 
this matter more easily. 


Audition is an influence (wdrid) proceeding from God, and 
inasmuch as this body is moulded of folly and diversion the 
temperament of the beginner is nowise capable of (enduring) the 
word of God, but is overpoweringly impressed by the descent 
of that spiritual reality, so that some lose their senses in 
audition and some die, and there is no one whose temperament 
retains its equilibrium. It is well known that in the hospitals 
of Rum they have invented a wonderful thing which they call 
angalyiin ; J the Greeks call anything that is very marvellous 
by this name, e.g. the Gospel and the books (wad^ of Mani 
(Manes). The word signifies " promulgation of a decree " 
(izhdr-i hukni}. This angalyiin resembles a stringed musical 
instrument (rildi az nidha}. The sick are brought to it two 
days in the week and are forced to listen, while it is being 
played on, for a length of time proportionate to the malady 
from which they suffer; then they are taken away. If it is 
desired to kill anyone, he is kept there for a longer period, 
until he dies. Everyone s term of life is really written (in the 
tablets of destiny), but death is caused indirectly by various 
circumstances. Physicians and others may listen continually 
to the angalyiin without being affected in any way, because it 
is consonant with their temperaments. I have seen in India 
a worm which appeared in a deadly poison and lived by it, 
because that poison was its whole being. In a town of 
Turkistan, on the frontiers of Islam, I saw a burning mountain, 
from the rocks of which sal-ammoniac fumes (iiawshddur) were 


boiling forth ; l and in the midst of that fire was a mouse, which 
died when it came out of the glowing heat. My object in 
citing these examples is to show that all the agitation of 
beginners, when the Divine influence descends upon them, is 
due to the fact that their bodies are opposed to it ; but when it 
becomes continual the beginner receives it quietly. At first 
the Apostle could not bear the vision of Gabriel, but in the end 
he used to be distressed if Gabriel ever failed to come, even for 
a brief space. Similarly, the stories which I have related above 
show that beginners are agitated and that adepts are tranquil in 
audition. Junayd had a disciple who was wont to be greatly 
agitated in audition, so that the other dervishes were distracted. 
They complained to Junayd, and he told the disciple that he 
would not associate with him if he displayed such agitation 
in future. <( I watched that dervish," says Abu Muhammad 
Jurayri, " during audition : he kept his lips shut and was silent 
until every pore in his body opened ; then he lost consciousness, 
and remained in that state for a whole day. I know not 
whether his audition or his reverence for his spiritual director 
was more perfect." It is related that a man cried out during 
audition. His spiritual director bade him be quiet. He laid 
his head on his knee, and when they looked he was dead. 
I heard Shaykh Abu Muslim Fan s b. Ghalib al-Farisi say that 
some one laid his hand on the head of a dervish who was 
agitated during audition and told him to sit down : he sat 
down and died on the spot. Raqqi 2 relates that Dai-raj 3 said : 
" While Ibn al-Quti 4 and I were walking on the bank of the 
Tigris between Basra and Ubulla, we came to a pavilion and 
saw a handsome man seated on the roof, and beside him a girl 
who was singing this verse : 

1 The mountains referred to are the Jabal al-Buttam, to the east of Samarcand. 
See G. Le Strange, The Lands of the Eastern Caliphate, p. 467. 

2 IJ. Duqqi. Qushayri, who relates this story (184, 22), has " al- Raqqi ". 
The nisba Duqqi refers to Abu Bakr Muhammad al-Di nawari (Nafah&t, No. 229), 
while Raqqi probably denotes Ibrahim b. Dawud al- Raqqi (ibid., No. 194). 

3 Nafahdt, No. 207. 

4 So Qushayri. The Persian texts have JyiH or Jcj&\. In the commentary on 
Qushayri by Zakariyya al-Ansari the name is written al-Futf. 


My love was bestowed on thee in the way of God ; 
TJiou changes t every day : it would beseem thee better not to 

do this 

A young man with a jug and a patched frock was standing 
beneath the pavilion. He exclaimed : * O damsel, for God s 
sake chant that verse again, for I have only a moment to live ; 
let me hear it and die ! The girl repeated her song, whereupon 
the youth uttered a cry and gave up his soul. The owner of the 
girl said to her, Thou art free/ and came down from the roof 
and busied himself with preparations for the young man s funeral. 
When he was buried all the people of Basra said prayers over 
him. Then the girl s master rose and said : O people of Basra, 
I, who am so-and-so, the son of so-and-so, have devoted all my 
wealth to pious works and have set free my slaves/ \Vith these ; 
words he departed, and no one ever learned what became of 
him." The moral of this tale is that the novice should be 
transported by audition to such an extent that his audition 
shall deliver the wicked from their wickedness. But in the > 
present age some persons attend meetings where the wicked 
listen to music, yet they say, "We are listening to God ;" and 
the wicked join with them in this audition and are encouraged 
in their wickedness, so that both parties are destroyed. Junayd 
was asked : " May we go to a church for the purpose of /^ 
admonishing ourselves and beholding the indignity of their 
unbelief and giving thanks for the gift of Islam ? " He replied : T- 
" If you can go to a church and bring some of the worshippers 
back with you to the Court of God, then go, but not otherwise." 
When an anchorite goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his 
cell, and when a haunter of taverns goes into a cell, that cell 
becomes his tavern. An eminent Shaykh relates that when he 
was walking in Baghdad with a dervish, he heard a singer 

"If it be true, it is the best of all objects of desire, 
And if not, we have lived a pleasant life in it" 

The dervish uttered a cry and died. Abu All Rudban says : 


" I saw a dervish listening attentively to the voice of a singer. 
I too inclined my ear, for I wished to know what he was 
chanting. The words, which he sang in mournful accents, were 
these : 

* / humbly stretch my hand to him who gives food liberally 

Then the dervish uttered a loud cry and fell. When we came 
near him we found that he was dead." A certain man says : 
" I was walking on a mountain road with Ibrahim Khawwas. 
A sudden thrill of emotion seized my heart, and I chanted 

A II men are sure that I am in love, 
But tJiey know not whom I love. 
TJiere is in Man no beauty 
That is not surpassed in beauty by a beautiful voice? 

Ibrahim begged me to repeat the verses, and I did so. In 
sympathetic ecstasy (tawdjud] he danced a few steps on the 
stony ground. I observed that his feet sank into the rock as 
though it were wax. Then he fell in a swoon. On coming to 
himself he said to me : I have been in Paradise, and you were 
unaware. " I once saw with my own eyes a dervish walking in 
meditation among the mountains of Adharbayajan and rapidly 
singing to himself these verses, with many tears and moans : 

" By God, sun never rose or set but thou wert my heart s 

desire and my dream. 
And I never sat conversing with any people but thou wert the 

subject of my conversation in the midst of my comrades. 
And I never mentioned tJiee in joy or sorrow but love for 

tJiee was mingled with my breath. 
And I never resolved to drink water, when I was athirst, 

but I saiu an image of thee in the cup. 
And were I able to come I would have visited thee, crawling 

on my face or walking on my head 

On hearing these verses he changed countenance and sat down 
for a while, leaning his back against a crag, and gave up his soul. 



Some of the Sufi Shaykhs have objected to the hearing of 
odes and poems and to the recitation of the Koran in such 
a way that its words are intoned with undue emphasis, and they 
have warned their disciples against these practices and have 
themselves eschewed them and have displayed the utmost zeal 
in this matter. Of such objectors there are several classes, and 
each class has a different reason. Some have found traditions 
declaring the practices in question to be unlawful and have 
followed the pious Moslems of old in condemning them. They 
cite, for example, the Apostle s rebuke to Shiri n, the handmaid 
of Hassan b. Thabit, whom he forbade to sing ; and Umar s 
flogging the Companions who used to hear music ; and * All s 
finding fault with Mu awiya for keeping singing-girls, and his 
not allowing Hasan to look at the Abyssinian woman who used 
to sing and his calling her "the Devil s mate". They say, 
moreover, that their chief argument for the objectionableness of 
music is the fact that the Moslem community, both now and in 
past times, are generally agreed in regarding it with disapproval. 
Some go so far as to pronounce it absolutely unlawful, quoting 
Abu 1-Harith Bunani, who relates as follows : " I was very 
assiduous in audition. One night a certain person came to my 
cell and told me that a number of seekers of God had assembled 
and were desirous to see me. I went out with him and soon 
arrived at the place. They received me with extraordinary 
marks of honour. An old man, round whom they had formed 
a circle, said to me : With thy leave, some poetry will be 
recited. I assented, whereupon one of them began to chant 
verses which the poets had composed on the subject of 
separation (from the beloved). They all rose in sympathetic 
ecstasy, uttering melodious cries and making exquisite gestures, 
while I remained lost in amazement at their behaviour. They 
continued in this enthusiasm until near daybreak, then the old 
man said, O Shaykh, art not thou curious to learn who am 
I and who are my companions ? I answered that the reverence 
which I felt towards him prevented me from asking that 


question. I myself, said he, was once Azra il and am now 
Iblis, and all the rest are my children. Two benefits accrue to 
me from such concerts as this : firstly, I bewail my own 
separation (from God) and remember the days of my prosperity, 
and secondly, I lead holy men astray and cast them into error. 
From that time (said the narrator) I have never had the least 
desire to practise audition." 

I, All b. Uthman al-Jullabi, have heard the Shaykh and 
Imam Abu V Abbas al- Ashqani relate that one day, being in an 
assembly where audition was going on, he saw naked demons 
dancing among the members of the party and breathing upon 
them, so that they waxed hot. 

Others, again, refuse to practise audition on the ground that, 
if they indulged in it, their disciples would conform with them 
and thereby run a grave risk of falling into mischief and of 
returning from penitence to sin and of having their passions 
violently roused and their virtue corrupted. It is related that 
Junayd said to a recently converted disciple: "If you wish to 
keep your religion safe and to maintain your penitence, do not 
indulge, while you are young, in the audition which the Sufi s 
practise ; and when you grow old, do not let yourself be the 
cause of guilt in others." 

Others say that there are two classes of auditors : those who 
are frivolous (Idht) and those who are divine (ildhi). The 
former are in the very centre of mischief and do not shrink 
from it, while the latter keep themselves remote from mischief 
by means of self-mortification and austerities and spiritual 
renunciation of all created things. "Since we" (so say the 
persons of whom I am now speaking) " belong to neither of 
these two classes, it is better for us to abstain from audition and 
to occupy ourselves with something that is suitable to our 

Others say : " Inasmuch as audition is dangerous to the 
vulgar and their belief is disturbed by our taking part in it, 
and inasmuch as they are unable to attain to our degree therein 
and incur guilt through us, we have pity on the vulgar and give 


sincere advice to the elect and from altruistic motives decline 
to indulge in audition." This is a laudable course of action. 

Others say: "The Apostle has said, It contributes to the 
excellence of a man s Islam if he leaves alone that which 
does not concern him. Accordingly, we renounce audition as 
being unnecessary, for it is a waste of time to busy one s self 
with irrelevant things, and time is precious between lovers and 
the Beloved." 

Others of the elect argue that audition is hearsay and its 
pleasure consists in gratification of a desire, and this is mere 
child s play. What value has hearsay when one is face to face? 
The act of real worth is contemplation (of God). 

Such, in brief, are the principles of audition. 

Chapter on Wajd and Wujud and Tawajud. 

Wajd and wujud are verbal nouns, the former meaning "grief" 
and the latter " finding ". These terms are used by Sufi s to 
denote two states which manifest themselves in audition : one 
state is connected with grief, and the other with gaining the 
object of desire. The real sense of "grief" is "loss of the 
Beloved and failure to gain the object of desire ", while the real 
sense of " finding" is " attainment of the desired object". The 
difference between hazan (sorrow) and wajd is this, that the 
term Jiazan is applied to a selfish grief, whereas the term wajd 
is applied to grief for another in the way of love, albeit the 
relation of otherness belongs only to the seeker of God, for God 
Himself is never other than He is. It is impossible to explain 
the nature of wajd, because wajd is pain in actual vision, 
and pain (alavt) cannot be described by pen (qalatri). IVajd 
is a mystery between the seeker and the Sought, which only 
a revelation can expound. Nor is it possible to indicate the 
nature of wujud, because wujud is a thrill of emotion in con 
templation of God, and emotion (taraU] cannot be reached by 
investigation (talab\ Wujud is a grace bestowed by the 
Beloved on the lover, a grace of which no symbol can suggest 
the real nature. In my opinion, wajd is a painful affection of 


the heart, arising either from jest or earnest, either from sadness 
or gladness ; and wujud is the removal of a grief from the 
heart and the discovery of the object that was its cause. He 
who feels wajd is either agitated by ardent longing in the 
state of occultation (hijdb\ or calmed by contemplation in the 
state of revelation (kashf}. The Shaykhs hold different views 
on the question whether wajd or ivujud is more perfect. Some 
argue that, wujud being characteristic of novices (muriddri), and 
wajd of gnostics {^drifdii}, and gnostics being more exalted in 
degree than novices, it follows that wajd is higher and more 
perfect than wujud ; for (they say) everything that is capable of 
being found is apprehensible, and apprehensibility is character 
istic of that which is homogeneous with something else : it 
involves finiteness, whereas God is infinite ; therefore, what 
a man finds is naught but a feeling (inashrabi), but what he 
has not found, and in despair has ceased to seek, is the Truth 
of which the only finder is God. Some, again, declare that 
wajd is the glowing passion of novices, while wujud is a gift 
bestowed on lovers, and, since lovers are more exalted than 
novices, quiet enjoyment of the gift must be more perfect than 
passionate seeking. This problem cannot be solved without 
a story, which I will now relate. One day Shiblf came in 
rapturous ecstasy to Junayd. Seeing that Junayd was sorrowful, 
he asked what ailed him. Junayd said, " He who seeks shall 
find." Shiblf cried, "No; he who finds shall seek." This 
anecdote has been discussed by the Shaykhs, because Junayd 
was referring to wajd and Shiblf to wujud. I think Junayd s 
view is authoritative, for, when a man knows that his object of 
worship is not of the same genus as himself, his grief has no end. 
This topic has been handled in the present work. The Shaykhs 
agree that the power of knowledge should be greater than the 
power of wajd, since, if wajd be more powerful, the person 
affected by it is in a dangerous position, whereas one in whom 
knowledge preponderates is secure. It behoves the seeker in 
all circumstances to be a follower of knowledge and of the 
religious law, for when he is overcome by wajd he is deprived 


of discrimination (khitdb\ and is not liable to recompense for 
good actions or punishment for evil, and is exempt from honour 
and disgrace alike: therefore he is in the predicament of mad 
men, not in that of the saints and favourites of God. A person 
in whom knowledge ( //;;/) preponderates over feeling (Jidl) 
remains in the bosom of the Divine commands and prohibitions, 
and is always praised and rewarded in the palace of glory ; but 
a person in whom feeling preponderates over knowledge is 
outside of the ordinances, and dwells, having lost the faculty of 
discrimination, in his own imperfection. This is precisely the 
meaning of Junayd s words. There are two ways : one of 
knowledge and one of action. Action without knowledge, 
although it may be good, is ignorant and imperfect, but 
knowledge, even if it be unaccompanied by action, is glorious 
and noble. Hence Abu Yazid said, " The unbelief of the 
magnanimous is nobler than the Islam of the covetous ; " and 
Junayd said, " Shibli is intoxicated ; if he became sober he 
would be an Imam from whom people would benefit." It is a 
well-known story that Junayd and Muhammad 1 b. Masruq and 
Abu !- Abbas b. Ata were together, and the singer (gawwdl) was 
chanting a verse. Junayd remained calm while his two friends 
fell into a forced ecstasy (tawdjud\ and on their asking him 
why he did not participate in the audition (samd 1 ) he recited 
the word of God : " Thou sJialt think them (the mountains) 
motionless, but they shall pass like the clouds" (Kor. xxvii, 90). 
Tawdjud \& " taking pains to produce wajd \ by representing to 
one s mind, for example, the bounties and evidences of God, 
and thinking of union (ittisdl) and wishing for the practices of 
holy men. Some do this tawdjud in a formal manner, and 
imitate them by outward motions and methodical dancing and 
grace of gesture : such tawdjud is absolutely unlawful. Others 
do it in a spiritual manner, with the desire of attaining to their 
condition and degree. The Apostle said, " He who makes him 
self like unto a people is one of them," and he said, " When ye 
recite the Koran, weep, or if ye weep not, then endeavour to 

1 Apparently a mistake for Ahmad b. Muhammad. See Nafahdt, No. 83. 


weep." This tradition proclaims that tawdjud is permissible. 
Hence that spiritual director said: "I will go a thousand leagues 
in falsehood, that one step of the journey may be true." 

Chapter on Dancing, etc. 

You must know that dancing (raqs) has no foundation either 
in the religious law (of Islam) or in the path (of Sufiism), 
because all reasonable men agree that it is a diversion when it 
is in earnest, and an impropriety (laghivf) when it is in jest. 
None of the Shaykhs has commended it or exceeded clue bounds 
therein, and all the traditions cited in its favour by anthropo- 
morphists (ahl-i hasJiiv) are worthless. But since ecstatic 
movements and the practices of those who endeavour to induce 
ecstasy (ahl-i tawdjud) resemble it, some frivolous imitators have 
indulged in it immoderately and have made it a religion. 
I have met with a number of common people who adopted 
Sufiism in the belief that it is this (dancing) and nothing more. 
Others have condemned it altogether. In short, all foot-play 
(pdy-bdzi) is bad in law and reason, by whomsoever it is 
practised, and the best of mankind cannot possibly practise jt ; 
but when the heart throbs with exhilaration and rapture 
becomes intense and the agitation of ecstasy is manifested and 
conventional forms are gone, that agitation (idtirdb) is neither 
dancing nor foot-play nor bodily indulgence, but a dissolution 
of the soul. Those who call it "dancing" are utterly wrong. 
It is a state that cannot be explained in words: "without 
experience no knowledge." 

Looking at youths (ahdath). Looking at youths and associating 
with them are forbidden practices, and anyone who declares 
this to be allowable is an unbeliever. The traditions brought 
forward in this matter are vain and foolish. I have seen 
ignorant persons who suspected the Sufis of the crime in 
question and regarded them with abhorrence, and I observed 
that some have made it a religious rule (inadliJiabi). All the 
Sufi Shaykhs, however, have recognized the wickedness of such 
practices, which the adherents of incarnation (Jiululiydn) may 


God curse them ! have left as a stigma on the saints of God 
and the aspirants to Sufiism. But God knows best what is 
the truth. 

Chapter on the Rending of Garments (fi 1-kharq). 
It is a custom of the Sufis to rend their garments, and they 
have commonly done this in great assemblies where eminent 
Shaykhs were present. I have met with some theologians who 
objected to this practice and said that it is not right to tear an 
intact garment to pieces, and that this is an evil. I reply 
that an evil of which the purpose is good must itself be good. 
Anyone may cut an intact garment to pieces and sew it together 
again, e.g. detach the sleeves and body (tana] and gusset (tirtz) 
and collar from one another, and then restore the garment to its 
original condition ; and there is no difference between tearing 
a garment into five pieces and tearing it into a hundred pieces. 
Besides, every piece gladdens the heart of a believer, when he 
sews it on his patched frock, and brings about the satisfaction 
of his desire. Although the rending of garments has no 
foundation in Sufiism and certainly ought not to be practised in 
audition by anyone whose senses are perfectly controlled for, 
in that case, it is mere extravagance nevertheless, if the 
auditor be so overpowered that his sense of discrimination is 
lost and he becomes unconscious, then he may be excused (for 
tearing his garment to pieces) ; and it is allowable that all the 
persons present should rend their garments in sympathy with 
him. There are three circumstances in which Sufis rend their 
garments : firstly, when a dervish tears his own garment to 
pieces through rapture caused by audition ; secondly, when 
a number of his friends tear his garment to pieces at the 
command of a spiritual director on the occasion of asking God 
to pardon an offence ; and thirdly, when they do the same in 
the intoxication of ecstasy. The most difficult case is that of 
the garment thrown off or torn in audition. It may be injured 
or intact. If it be injured, it should either be sewed together 
and given back to its owner or bestowed on another dervish or 



torn to pieces, for the sake of gaining a blessing, and divided 
among the members of the party. If it be intact, we have to 
consider what was the intention of the dervish who cast it off. 
If he meant it for the singer, let the singer take it ; and if he 
meant it for the members of the party, let them have it ; and if 
he threw it off without any intention, the spiritual director must 
determine whether it shall be given to those present and divided 
among them, or be conferred on one of them, or handed to the 
singer. If the dervish meant it for the singer, his companions 
need not throw off their garments in sympathy, because the 
cast-off garment will not go to his fellows and he will have 
given it voluntarily or involuntarily without their participation. 
But if the garment was thrown off with the intention that it 
should fall to the members of the party, or without any intention, 
they should all throw off their garments in sympathy; and 
when they have done this, the spiritual director ought not to 
bestow the garment on the singer, but it is allowable that any 
lover of God among them should sacrifice something that 
belongs to him and return the garment to the dervishes, in 
order that it may be torn to pieces and distributed. If 
a garment drops off while its owner is in a state of rapture, the 
Shaykhs hold various opinions as to what ought to be done,, 
but the majority say that it should be given to the singer, in 
accordance with the Apostolic tradition : " The spoils belong to 
the slayer ; " and that not to give it to the singer is to violate 
the obligations imposed by Sufiism. Others contend and 
I prefer this view that, just as some theologians are of opinion 
that the dress of a slain man should not be given to his slayer 
except by permission of the Imam, so, here, this garment should 
not be given to the singer except by command of the spiritual 
director. But if its owner should not wish the spiritual director 
to bestow it, let no one be angry with him. 

Chapter on the Rules of Audition. 

The rules of audition prescribe that it should not be practised 
until it comes (of its own accord), and that you must not make 


a habit of it, but practise it seldom, in order that you may not 
cease to hold it in reverence. It is necessary that a spiritual 
director should be present during the performance, and that the 
place should be cleared of common people, and that the singer 
should be a respectable person, and that the heart should be 
emptied of worldly thoughts, and that the disposition should 
not be inclined to amusement, and that every artificial effort 
(takalluf} should be put aside. You must not exceed the proper 
bounds until audition manifests its power, and when it has 
become powerful you must not repel it but must follow it as it 
requires : if it agitates, you must be agitated, and if it calms, 
you must be calm ; and you must be able to distinguish a strong 
natural impulse from the ardour of ecstasy (wajcT). The auditor 
must have enough perception to be capable of receiving the 
Divine influence and of doing justice to it. When its might is 
manifested on his heart he must not endeavour to repel it, and 
when its force is broken he must not endeavour to attract it. 
While he is in a state of emotion, he must neither expect 
anyone to help him nor refuse anyone s help if it be offered. 
And he must not disturb anyone who is engaged in audition 
or interfere with him, or ponder what he means by the 
verse (to which he is listening), 1 because such behaviour 
is very distressing and disappointing to the person who is 
trying (to hear). He must not say to the singer, " You 
chant sweetly ; " and if he chants unmelodiously or distresses 
his hearer by reciting poetry unmetrically, he must not say 
to him, " Chant better ! " or bear malice towards him, but he 
must be unconscious of the singer s presence and commit 
him to God, who hears correctly. And if he have no part in 
the audition which is being enjoyed by others, it is not proper 
that he should look soberly on their intoxication, but he must 
keep quiet with his own " time " (waqf) and establish its 
dominion, that the blessings thereof may come to him. I, All 

1 The text of this clause is uncertain. I have followed B. s reading, u murdd-i 
lira baddn bayt-i u bi-na-sanjad, but I am not sure that it will bear the translation 
given above. L. has baddn niyyat-iii, and J. baddn nisbat-i ti. 


b. Uthman al-Jullabi, think it more desirable that beginners 
should not be allowed to attend musical concerts (samd hd), lest 
their natures become depraved. These concerts are extremely 
dangerous and corrupting, because women on the roofs or 
elsewhere look at the dervishes who are engaged in audition ; 
and in consequence of this the auditors have great obstacles to 
encounter. Or it may happen that a young reprobate is one 
^ ^ e P art y> smce some ignorant Sufis have made a religion 
(madhhab) of all this ancThave flung truth to the winds. I ask 
pardon of God for my sins of this kind in the past, and I implore 
His help, that He may preserve me both outwardly and inwardly 
from contamination, and I enjoin the readers of this book to 
hold it in due regard and to pray that the author may believe 
to the end and be vouchsafed the vision of God (in Paradise). 





Aaron, 262. 

Abbas, uncle of the Prophet, 99. 

Abdallah Ansari, 26. 

b. Badr al-Juhani, 81. 

b. Hanzala, 394. 

b. Ja far, 319. 

b. Khubayq. See Abu Muhammad 

Abdallah b. Khubayq. 

- b. Mas ud al-Hudhali, 81. 

- b. Mubarak, 95-7, 274, 303. 

- b. Rabah, 73. 

b. Umar, 81, 191, 232. 

b. Unays, 82. 
Abd al-Razzaq San ani, 98. 
Abel, 364. 

Abraham, 40, 73, 74, 91, 115, 161,232, 
237, 252, 262, 317, 318, 326, 327, 328, 

342, 353> 365, 370, 37i, 373- 

- the Station of, 326, 328. 
Abu V Abbas, 173. 

Ahmad b. Masruq, 146-7. 

Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Ashqam, 
150, 168, 206, 395, 412. 

Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Qassab, 

161, 325, 395- 

Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Sahl al- 

Amuli, 149-50. 

- b. All, 191. 

b. Ata, 21, 23, 150, 158, 1 80, 249, 

330, 395. 4iS- 

- Qasimb. al-Mahdial-Sayyari, 157-8, 
228, 251-60. 

Abu V Abbas Qassab. See Abu 1- Abbas 
Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Qassab. 

Sayyari. See Abu !- Abbas Qasim 

b. al-Mahdi al-Sayyari. 

Shaqani. See Abu !- Abbas Ahmad 

b. Muhammad al-Ashqani. 

Abu Abdallah al-Abiwardi (Bawardi), 
123, 124. 

Ahmad b. Asim al-Antaki, 127. 

Ahmad b. Yahya al-Jalla", 37, 134-5. 

al-Harith b. Asad al-Muhasibi, 21, 

108-9, I2 7, 154, 176-83,225,249,286, 

307, 335- 

Junaydi, 173. 

- Khafif. See Abu Abdallah Mu 
hammad b. Khafif. 

- Khayyati, 161. 

Muhammad b. All al-Dastani, 164. 

Muhammad b. All al-Tirmidhi, 46, 

I4I-2, 147, 200, 210-41, 338. 

Muhammad b. al-Fadl al-Balkhi, 1 6, 

134, 140-1, 208, 327. 

Muhammad b. al-Hakim, known as 

Murid, 175. 

Muhammad b. Isma il al-Maghribi, 


Muhammad b. Khafif, 50, 51, 150, 

151, 158, 226, 247-51, 290, 323. 

Rudbari, 318. 

Abu Abd al- Rahman Hatim b. Ulwan 
al-Asamm, 13, 115, 286, 300. 

Muhammad b. al-Husayn al-Sulami, 

81, 108, 401. 



Abu Ahmad al-Muzaffar b. Ahmad b. 

Hamdan, 170-1. 
Abu l- Ala Abd al-Rahim b. Ahmad al- 

Sughdi, 175. 
Abu AH al-Daqqaq. See Abu All Hasan 

b. Muhammad al-Daqqaq. 
al-Fadl b. Muhammad al-Farmadhi, 


al-Fudayl b. lyad, 93, 97-100, 

103, 105, 109, 114, 127, 179, 286, 328. 

al-Hasan b. AH al-Juzajani, 147-8, 


Hasan b. Muhammad al-Daqqaq, 

162-3, 2 72, 284, 370. 

al-Juzajani. See Abu All al-Hasan 

b. Ali al-Juzajani. 

Muhammad b. al-Qasim al-Rudbari, 

157 2 37, 253, 293, 404, 409. 

Qarmini, 43. 

al-Rudbari. See Abu Ali Muhammad 

b. al-Qasim al-Rudbari. 

Shaqiq b. Ibrahim al-Azdi, III-I2, 

115, 286, 358, 359. 

Siyah, 57, 205, 209, 323. 
Thaqafi, 16. 

- Zahir, 165. 

Abu Amr Dimashqi, 38. 

- b. Nujayd, 298. 

Qazwini, 166. 

Abu Bakr, the Caliph, 31, 32, 45, 70-2, 
102, 204, 229, 284, 304, 315. 

- Dulaf b. Jahdar al-Shibli, 25, 27, 
38, 39, 137, 144, 150, 151. 155-6, 158, 
159, 195, 210, 227, 228, 249, 257, 275, 
276, 284, 293, 294, 305, 313, 315, 330, 

33i, 3SL 353, 356, 359, 374, 376, 378, 

394, 404, 414, 415. 
b. Furak, 214. 
Muhammad al-Dinawari, 408. 

- Muhammad b. Musa al-Wasiti, 8, 
154-5, I 57 158, 228, 251, 265, 277. 

Muhammad b. Umar al-Warraq, 17, 

141, 142-3, 147, 229, 235, 338. 

Muhammad b. Zakariyyaal-Razi, 150. 

Abu Bakr al-Warraq. See Abu Bakr 

Muhammad b. Umar al-Warraq. 
al-Wasiti. See Abu Bakr Muham 
mad b. Musa al-Wasiti. 

Abu Darda Uwaym b. Amir, 81, 232. 

Abu Dharr Jundab b. Junada al-Ghifari, 
81, 177, 178, 344. 

Abu 1-Fadl b. al-Asadi, 175. 

b. al-Hasan, 165, 188, 227. 

Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Khuttali, 


Abu 1-Fath b. Saliba, 173. 

Abu 1-Fawaris Shah b. Shuja al-Kirmani, 
52, 123, 132, 133, 138, 352- 

Abu 1-Fayd Dhu 1-Niin b. Ibrahim 
al-Misri, 36, 100-3, IJ 7> I3 6 , 143, 200, 
208, 226, 233, 250, 275, 286, 298, 299, 

303, 329, S3 2 , 359, 404- 
Abu Hafs Amr b. Salim al-Nishapuri 
al-Haddadi, 41, 52, 120, 123-4, J 3 2 , 
133, 134, 257, 276, 298. 

al-Haddad. See Abu Hafs Amr b. 

Salim al-Nishapuri al-Haddadi. 

Abu Halim Habib b. Salim al-Ra i, 90-1, 

109, no. 
Abu Hamid Ahmad b. Khadruyaal-Balkhi, 

52, 115, 119-21, 123, 140, 142, 338. 

Dustan, 52. 

Abu Hamza al-Baghdadi, 144, 154, 182, 

183, 190, 249, 286. 

al-Khurasani, 146. 

Abu Hanifa, 46, 65, 92-5, 98, 103, 109, 

141, 286. 

Abu 1-Harith Bunani, 411. 
Abu 1-Hasan Ahmad b. Abi 1-Hawari, 

21, 113, 118-19, 131, 397. 

Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Xuri, 26, 

36, 37, 42, 43, 130-2, 134, 137, H4, 
154, 176, 189-95, 225, 269. 

- Ali b. Abi Ali al-Aswad, 174. 

Ali b. Ahmad al-Khurqani, 163, 


- Ali b. Bakran, 172, 247. 

Ali b. Ibrahim al-Husri, 38, 40, 



122, 150, 160, 166, 249, 257, 281, 282, 

378, 405- 

Abu l-Hasan All b. Muhammad al-Isfahani, 
142-4, 150, 3Si 353- 

Bushanji (Fiishanja), 44, 299. 

al-Khurqani. See Abu 1-Hasan All 

b. Ahmad al-Khurqani. 

Muhammad b. Isma il Khayr al- 

. Nassaj, 144-5, 154, 155, 286, 3 8 7- 

al-Nuri. See Abu 1-Hasan Ahmad 

b. Muhammad al-Nuri. 

b. Saliba, 104, 166, 172. 

Sari b. Mughallis al-Saqati, no-Il, 

114, 117, 127, 128, 129, 131, 143, 144, 

b. Sim un, 21. 

Sumnun b. Abdallah al-Khawwas, 

59, 136-8, 249, 286, 308, 312. 

Abu Hazim al- Madam, 91. 

Abu Hulman, 131, 260, 261. 

Abu Hurayra, 82, 232. 

Abu Isa Uwaym b. Sa ida, 82. 

Abu Ishaq Ibrahim b. Adham b. Mansur, 

12, 46, 68, 93, 103-5, i9, "I, 217, 

232, 286, 323. 

Ibrahim b, Ahmad al-Khawwas, 147, 

!S3-4 5 205, 207, 222, 223, 285, 289, 
292, 293, 339, 342, 362, 399, 410. 

Isfara ini, 214. 

b. Shahriyar, 172, 173. 

Abu Ja far Haddad, 249. 

- Juhani, 396. 

Muhammad b. All al-Hawari, 173. 

Muhammad b. All b. Husayn al- 

Baqir, 77-8. 

Muhammad b. al-Husayn al-Harami, 


Muhammad b. al-Misbah al-Sayda- 

lam, 172, 260. 

Turshizi, 173. 

Abu Jahl, 204, 394. 
Abu Kabsha, 81. 

Abu 1-Khayr Aqta , 304. 

Abu Lubaba b Abd al-Mundhir, 81. 

Abu 1-Mahasin, 137, 233. 

Abu Mahfuz Ma ruf b. Firuz al-Karkhf, 

no, 113-15, 117- 
Abu Ma mar, of Isfahan, 56. 
Abu 1-Marthad Kinana b. al-Husayn al- 

Adawi, 8 1. 
Abu Muhammad Abdallah b. Khubayq, 

-- Ahmad b. al - Husayn al - Jurayri, 

148-9, 150, 158, 249, 286, 408. 

- - Banghan, 174, 323. 

- Ja far b. Muhammad Sadiq, 78-80. 

- Ja far b. Nusayr al-Khuldi, 155, 

- Murta ish, 39, 42, 43, 53, 54, 155. 

- Ruwaym b. Ahmad, 21, 25, 134, 

135-6, 194. 

- Sahl b. Abdallah al - Tustarf, 13, 
139-40, H8, 151. l8 9> 195-210, 225, 
233, 249, 257, 283, 286, 296, 302, 311, 

318, 322, 330, 338, 348, 349, 363- 
Abu Musa al-Ash ari, 399. 

Abu Muslim, 358. 

- Faris b. Ghalib al-Farisi, 165, 172, 

319, 346, 408. 

Abu Nasr al-Sarraj, 255, 323, 341. 

Abu Nuwas, 8, 406. 

Abu 1-Qasim, of Merv, 233. 

- Abd al-Karim b. Hawazin al- 
Qushayri, 24, 114, 123, 150, 163, 
167-8, 177, 227, 306, 311, 334, 408. 

- All b. Abdallah al-Gurgani, 49, 
150, 169-70, 206, 234, 339. 

- al-Gurgam. See Abu 1-Qasim AH 
b. Abdallah al-Gurgam. 

- al-Hakim, 338. 

- Ibrahim b. Muhammad b. Mahmud 
al-Nasrabadi, 150, 159-60, 162. 

- Junayd, 5, 23, 27, 39, 57, 74, 103, 
106, 1 10, 115, 118, 123, 124, 128-30, 
131, 132, 134, 135, 137, 138, 143, 144, 
145, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 154, 156, 
157, 166, 182, 185-9, 194, 200, 206, 
208, 216, 225, 228, 249, 250, 251, 260, 



281, 282, 284, 286, 293, 296, 297, 299, 
303, 307, 320, 328, 331. 338, 339, 343, 
35i 352, 355. 356, 359, 368, 387, 388, 
394, 408, 409, 412, 414, 415. 
Abu 1-Qasim Nasrabadi. See Abu 1-Qasim 
Ibrahim b. Muhammad b. Mahmud al- 

Qushayri. See Abu 1-Qasim Abd 

al-Karim b. Hawazin al-Qushayri. 

Suddi, 172. 

Abu Qatada, 73. 

Abu Sahl Su luki, 272, 284, 319. 
Abu Sa id, the Carmathian, 150. 

b. Abi 1 - Khayr Fadlallah b. 

Muhammad al-Mayhani, 21, 22, 119, 
150, 163, 164-6, 170, 218, 235, 250, 
3i8, 346. 

Ahmad b. Isa al-Kharraz, 138, 143, 

146, 149, 232, 233, 241-6, 368, 374. 

al-Hujwiri, 6. 

al-Kharraz. See Abu Sa id Ahmad 

b. Isa al-Kharraz. 

al-Khudri, 396. 

Abu Salih Hamdun b. Ahmad b. Umara 

al-Qassar, 66,125-6,183-4,195,225,249. 
Abu 1-Sari Mansiir b. Ammar, 126-7. 
Abu Sulayman Abd al-Rahman b. Atiyya 

al-Darani, 13, 112-13, IJ 4 "8, 200, 

225, 286. 

al-Daram. See Abu Sulayman Abd 

al-Rahman b. Atiyya al-Darani. 

Dawud b. Nusayr al-Ta i, 46, 79, 93, 

95, 109-10, 114, 286, 350. 

Abu Tahir Harami, 64, 292. 

Makshuf, 173. 

Abu Talha al-Maliki, 322. 

Abu Talib, father of the Caliph All, 269. 

Abu Talib, Shaykh, 173. 

Abu Thawr Ibrahim b. Khalid, 125. 

Abu Turab Askar b. al-Husayn al- 

Nakhshabi, 121-2, 125, 138, 143, 146. 
Abu Ubayda b. al-Jarrah, 81. 
Abu Uthman al-Hiri. See Abu Uthman 

Sa id b. Isma il al-Hiri. 

Abu Uthman al-Maghribi. See Abu 
Uthman Sa id b. Sallam al-Maghribi. 

Sa id b. Isma il al-Hiri, 132-4, 138, 

140, 1 80, 1 8 1, 298. 

Sa id b. Sallam al-Maghribi, 158-9, 

186, 217. 

Abu Ya qiib Aqta , 150. 

Nahrajuri, 150, 158, 245. 

Yusuf b. al-Husayn al-Razi, 134, 136. 

Abu 1-Yaqzan Ammar b. Yasir, 81. 
Abu 1-Yasar Ka b b. Amr, 82. 
Abu Yazid Tayfur b. Isa al-Bistami, 17, 
52, 65, 68, 106-8, 120, 176, 184-8, 

200, 217, 226, 238, 250, 254, 257, 258, 
275, 286, 291, 293, 311, 327, 331, 332, 

335, 347, 35i, 359, 375, 388,415- 
Abu Yusuf, the Cadi, no, 286. 
Abu Zakariyya Yahya b. Mu adh al-Razi, 

17, 21, 25, 94, 120, 122-3, J 3 2 , 133, 

187, 226, 312, 337, 360. 

Adam, 63, 109, 124, 130, 144, 159, 160, 
208, 239, 240, 249, 252, 262, 297, 324, 

f 353, 355, 357, 363, 364, 37i, 383- 
Adharbayajan, 57, 173, 410. 
Adib Kamandi (Kumandi), 173, 335. 
Ahl-i hadith, 401. 
Ahl-i ra y, 401. 
Ahl-i Suffa, 80, 8 1-2, 344. See Ashab-i 

Ahmad, Khwaja, 170. 

- b. Abi 1-Hawari. See Abu 1-Hasan 
Ahmad b. Abi 1-Hawari. 

b. Asim al-Antaki. ^^Abii Abdallah 

Ahmad b. Asim al-Antaki. 
Bukhari, 321. 

b. Fatik, 66. 

Hammadi, 174, 193, 364. 

b. Hanbal, 116, 117-18, 286. 

b. Harb, 365, 366. 

- Ilaqi, 174. 

b. Khadruya. See Abu Hamid 

Ahmad b. Khadruya al-Balkhi. 

b. Masruq. See Abu !- Abbas 

Ahmad b. Masruq. 



Ahmad Najjar Samarqandi, 174, 353. 

Ahriman, 280. 

A isha, 42, 45, 82, 320, 331, 401. 

AkhiZanjam, 173. 

Ala. b. al-Hadrami, 232. 

AH b. Abi Talib, 45, 74. 83, 84, 152, 192, 

269,300, 315, 336, 361,411. 
<Ali Asghar, 76. 

b. Bakkar, 323. 

b. Bundar al-Sayrafi, 16, 41. 

b. Husayn b. All, called Zayn al- 

Abidin, 76-7. 

b. al-Husayn al-Sirgam, 173. 

b. Ishaq, 174. 

b. Khashram, 105. 

b. Musa al-Rida, 114. 

Nasrabadi, 125. 

b. Sahl al-Isfaham. See Abu 1-Hasan 

Ah b. Muhammad al-Isfahani. 

Amr b. al-Sharid, 397. 

b. Uthman al-Makki, 91, 138-9, 

143, 15, ^i, 189, 309. 

Amul, 162. 

Anas b. Malik, 12. 

Anthropomorphists, 117, 118, 131, 213, 

236, 289, 316. See Hashwiyya. 
Arafat, 326, 328. 
Arif, Khwaja, 174. 
Asaf b. Barkhiya, 230. 
Ashab al-kahf, 230. See Cave, men 

of the. 

Ashab-i Suffa, 30. See Ahl-i Suffa. 
Ashlatak, 234. 
Attar, Farid al-Din, 51. 
Awhad Qaswarat b. Muhammad al-Jardizi, 

Azra il, 412. 


Bab al-Taq, 57. 

- Umar, 234. 
Badr, 45, 255. 
al-Din, 173. 

Baghdad, 53, 57, 96, 108, no, 117, 123, 

129, 137, 150. I5I 5 152, 154, 323, 356, 
358, 378, 409. 
Bahshamis, a sect of the Mu tazilites, 


Bal am, 273. 
Balkh, 103, 112, 115, 119, 120, 123, 140, 


Baniyas, 167. 
Banu Shayba, gate of the, 94. 

Umayya, 78. 

Baqir. See Abu Ja far Muhammad b. Ali 

b. Husayn al-Baqir. 
Barsisa, 273. 

Basra, 13, 84, 121, 131, 408, 409. 
Batiniyan, 263. 
Batul, 79. 
Baward, 97. 
Bayazi d al-Bistami. See Abu Yazid Tayfiir 

b. Isa" al-Bistami. 
Bay da, 150. 
Baydawi, 273, 348. 
Bayt al-Jinn, 167, 234. 

al-siba , at Tustar, 233. 

Bilal b. Rabdh, 81, 94, 301, 302. 
Bilqis, 230. 

Bishr b. al-Harith al-Hafi, 25, 93, 105-6, 

117, 127, 143, 179, 286. 
Bistam, 106, 164, 286. 
Brahmans, 236, 271. 
Bukhara, 353. 
Bundar b. al-Husayn, 249. 
Buraq, 380. 
Buzurjmihr, 401. 


Cain, 364. 

Carmathians, 263, 383. 

Cave, the men of the, 230, 354 

Chahar Taq, 358. 

China, II. 

Chinese, 263. 

Christians, 244, 263. 




Dajjal, 224. 

Damascus, 76, 94, 131, 167, 234, 260, 343. 

Darrdj, 408. 

al-Dastani. See Abb Abdallah Muhammad 

b. All al-Dastani. 
David, 52, 185, 197, 255, 320, 329, 352, 

37i, 399, 402, 403- 
Dawud of Isfahan, 135. 

- al-Ta i. See Abu Sulayman Dawud 
b. Nusayr al-Ta i. 

Dhahabi, 118. 

Dhu 1-Nun, See Abu 1-Fayd Dhu 1-Nun 

b. Ibrahim al-Misri. 
Dinar, 89. 
Duqqi, 408. 


Egypt, 32, 100, 101, 143, 233, 332, 404. 
Euphrates, the, 84, 90, 234. 
Eve, 353. 


Fadl b. Rabi , 98, 100. 

Faraj, Shaykh, 173. 

Farazdaq, 77. 

Farghana, 234, 235. 

Faris, 260, 261. 

Farisis, 131, 260. 

Fars, 51, 151, 172. 

Fatima, daughter of the Prophet, 79. 

- wife of Ahmad b. Khadruya, 119, 

- wife of Bab Umar, 234, 235. 
Fayd, 137. 

Fuclayl b. lyad. See Abu All al-Fudayl 
b. <Iyad. 

Gabriel, 73, 106, 237, 240, 241, 254, 304, 

305, 320, 335, 38o, 408. 
Ghazna, 53, 91, 94, 175- 

Ghulam al-Khalil, 137, 190. 
Goliath, 185, 255. 


Habib, name of Muhammad, 317. 

- al- Ajami, 88-9. 
al-Ra i. See Abu Halim Habib b. 

Salim al-Ra i. 
Hafs Missisi, 323. 
Hafsa, 320. 
Hagar, 74, 365. 
Hajjaj, 88. 

b. Umar al-Aslami, 82. 

Hakim b. Ali b. al-Husayn al-Sirgani, 173. 

Hakimis, 130, 141, 210-41. 

Hallaj. See Husayn b. Mansur al-Hallaj. 

Hallajis, 131, 152, 260. 

Hamdun Qassar. See Abu Salih Hamdun 

b. Ahmad b. Umara al-Qassar. 
Hamdunis, 195. See Qassaris. 
Harim b. Hayyan, 45, 84-5. 
Harith al-Muhasibi. See Abu Abdallah 

al-Harith b. Asad al-Muhasibi. 
Haritha, 33, 227, 229. 
Harun al-Rashid, 98, 99, 100. 
Harut, 364. 
Hasan b. Ali, 73, 75-6, 3i9> 4H- 

- of Basra, 45, 46, 75, 86-7, 88, 89, 

232, 362. 

Mu addib, 163. 

Hashwiyya, hashwiyan, 213, 236, 244, 289. 

See Anthropomorphists. 
Hassan b. Thabit, 411. 
Hatim al-Asamm. See Abu Abd al- 

Rahman Hatim b. Ulwan al-Asamm. 

- Ta i, 318. 
Herat, 26. 

Hijaz, the, 65, 96, 137, 319. 
Hira quarter of Nishapur, 183. 
Hisham b. Abd al-Malik, 77. 
Hiid, 396. 

Hudhayfa al-Yamani, 81. 
Hulmanis, 131, 260. 



Huliilis, 131, 183, 260-6, 4 l6 - 

Hulwan, 319. 

Husayn b. Ali, 76, 17 7, 178. 

b. Fadl, 286. 

b. Mansur al-Hallaj, 66, 150-3, 158, 

172, 189, 205, 226, 249, 259, 260, 281, 
285, 303, 311, 344- 

Simnan, Khwaja, 173. 

Husri. See Abu 1-Hasan AH b. Ibrahim 


Ibahatis, 131. 

Iblis, 63, 129, 130, 208, 239, 252, 268, 

273, 351, 357, 402, 403, 412. 
Ibn Abbas, 81, 331, 351. 
, Ata. See Abu !- Abbas b. <Ata. 

al-Athir, 358. 

- al-Jalla. See Abu Abdallah Ahmad 
b. Yahya al-Jalla. 

- Khallikan, 92, 98, 125, 214, 358, 396. 
-- Mas ud, 396. 

- al-Mu alla, 343, 344- 

al-Quti, 408. 

Umar. See Abdallah b. Umar. 

Ibrahim b. Adham. See Abu Ishaq Ibrahim 

b, Adham b. Mansur. 

b. Dawud al-Raqqi, 408. 

Khawwas. See Abu Ishaq Ibrahim 

b. Ahmad al-Khawwas. 

Maristani, 149. 

Nakha i, 396. 

Raqqi, 233. 

- b. Sa d Alawi, 374. 

Samarqandi, 147. 

b. Shayban, 246. 

Shaybani, 147. 

Imran, 179. 

India, 243, 400, 407. 
Indians, 263. 
Irani, 224. 

Iraq, no, 116, 126, 140, 172, 177, 249, 
260, 345, 400. 

Isfahan, 138. 

Ishaq of Mawsil, 399. 

Ishmael, 40, 74, 252, 353. 

Isma il al-Shashi, 175. 

Isma ilis, 263. 

Israelites, 192. 

desert of the, 229. 


Jabal al-Buttam, 408. 

Jabarites, 75. 

Jacob, 258, 310, 370. 

Ja far al-Khuldi. See Abu Muhammad 

Ja far b. Nusayr al-Khuldi. 
Sadiq. See Abii Muhammad Ja far 

b. Muhammad Sadiq. 
Jahiz, 8. 

Jerusalem, 101, 215. 
Jesus, 40, 50, 232, 244, 262, 273, 371, 

375, 376. 
Jews, 261. 
Jidda, 233. 
Job, 24, 40, 251. 
John the Baptist, 40, 371, 375, 376. See 

Yahya b. Zakariyya. 

Joseph, 32, 258, 262, 310, 335, 365, 395. 
Junayd. See Abu 1-Qasim Junayd. 
Junaydis, 130, 185-9, X 95- 
Jurayj, 232. 
Jurayri. See Abu Muhammad Ahmad b. 

al-Husayn al-Jurayri. 
Jurjani, 373. 


Ka ba, the, 12, 121, 141, 239, 240, 258, 

300, 326, 327, 329, 337, 397. 
Kamand (Kumand), 335. 
Karbala, 76. 
Karkh, 356, 378. 
Kattani, 325. 
Khabbabb. al-Aratt, 81. 
Khadir. See Khidr. 



Khafifis, 130, 247-51. 

Khalid b. Walid, 232. 

Khalil, 73, 91, 317. See Abraham. 

Khdrijites, 286. 

Kharraz. See Abu Sa id Ahmad b. Isa 

al- Kharraz. 
Kharrazis, 130, 241-6. 
Khayr al-Nassaj. See Abu 1- Hasan 

Muhammad b. Isma il Khayr al-Nassaj. 
Khaza ini, Imam, 227. 
Khidr, 103, 141, 142, 153, 290, 342. 
Khubayb, 221. 
Khurasan, 69, 115, 121, 123, 126, 134, 140, 

146, 151, 159, 173, 174, 177, 236, 335, 


Khurqan, 163. 
Khurqam. See Abu 1-Hasan AH b. 

Ahmad al- Khurqam. 
Khusraw. See Nushirwan. 
al-Khuttali. See Abu 1-Fadl Muhammad 

b. al-Hasan al-Khuttali. 
Khuzistan, 151. 

Kirman, 51, 123, 132, 133, 173. 
Kish, 173. 
Korah, 347- 
Kufa, 46, 75, 84, 98, 104, 118, 145, 205, 

339, 36o, 396. 
Kumish, 173. 

Labid, 397. 
Lahawur, 91. 
Layla, 258, 353. 
Lukam, Mount, 166. 
Luqman of Sarakhs, 1 88. 


Magians, 280, 404. 
Mahmud, Khwaja, 174. 
Majnun, 258, 353. 
Malamatis, 50, 62-9. 
Malik, the Imam, 116, 286. 

Malik b. Dinar, 46, 89-90, 337- 

Mam (Manes), 407. 

Manichseans, 31. 

Mansiir, the Caliph, 93. 

b. Ammar. See Abu 1-Sari Mansiir 

b. Ammar. 
Maqam-i Ibrdhim, 326. 
Maqdisi, 260. 
Ma ruf Karkhi. See Abu Mahfuz Ma ruf 

b. Firuz al-Karkhi. 
Marut, 364. 
Marv al-Riid, 50. 
Marwa, 326, 328. 
Mar wan b. Mu awiya, 118. 
Mary, the Virgin, 230, 244. 
Mash ar al-Haram, 326. 
Mas ud, spiritual director, 323. 

-b. Rabi al-Farisi, 81. 
Mayhana, 164, 235. 
Mecca, 77, 83, 84, 87, 91, 94, 96, 98, 

107, 145, 158, 1 86, 192, 215, 221, 258, 

290, 292, 326, 327, 329, 339, 340, 372, 


Medina, 116, 221. 
Merv, 52, 96, 97, 154, 158, 174, 205, 209, 

251, 323, 401. 
Michael, 241. 
Mihna. See Mayhana. 
Mind, 326, 328, 329, 340. 
Miqdad b. al-Aswad, 81. 
Mis ar b. Kidam, 93. 
Mistah b. Uthatha b. Abbad, 82. 
Moses, 40, 41, 74, 76, 90, 101, 167, 179, 

230, 262, 296, 297, 324, 332, 371, 372, 

380, 381. 

Mu adh b. al-Harith, 82. 
Mu awiya, the Caliph, 411. 
Mu ayyad, 53. 
Mudar, 83. 

Mughira b. Shu ba, 337. 
Muhajirin, 19, 396. 
Muhammad, the Prophet, I, 4, 8, II, 15, 

19, 3 1 , S 2 , 33, 3 6 > 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, 

46, 5 2 , 53, 6 2, 70, 72, 76, 79, 80, 81, 



S2, 83, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 98, 99, 
100, 101, 116, 117, 127, 129, 140, 141, 
158, 185, 186, 192,200, 202, 209, 211, 

213, 215, 221, 222, 223, 225, 229, 230, 
231, 232, 236, 238, 254, 255, 258, 259, 
26l, 269, 283, 287, 312, 315, 317, 318, 

3*9, 3 2 4, 33> 33 1 , 33 2 > 333, 336, 344, 
346, 348, 353, 358, 365, 371, 372, 373, 
380, 381, 394, 396, 397, 401, 408, 411- 
See Traditions of the Prophet. 

Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Muqri, 41. 

b. All Hakim. See Abu Abdallah 

Muhammad b. All al-Tirmidhi. 

- b. Ali b. al-Husayn b. Ali b. Abi 
Talib, 38. 

- b. Fadl al-Balkhi. See Abu Abdallah 
Muhammad b. al-Fadl al-Balkhi. 

- Hakim. See Abu Abdallah Muham 
mad b. Ali al-Tirmidhi. 

b. al-Hasan, no, 116, 286. 

b. al-Husayn al- Alawi, 205. 
b. Ka b al-Qurazi, 99. 

- b. Khafif. See Abu Abdallah Muham 
mad b. Khafif. 

Ma shuq, 174. 

b. Masriiq, 415. 

b. Salama, 173. 

b. Sirin, 92. 

b. Ulyan, 206. 

- b. Wasi , 91-2, 276, 330. 
b. Zakariyya, 51. See Abu Bakr 

Muhammad b. Zakariyya al-Razi. 
Muhasibis, 130, 176-83, 371. 
Mujassima, 236. 
Miiltan, 91. 
Muqaddasi, 260. 
Murid, 175. 
Murjites, 66, 67. 

Murta ish. See Abu Muhammad Murta ish. 
Mushabbiha, 236. 
Muslim Maghribi, 233, 234. 
Mustafa, 99, 368. See Muhammad, the 

Mutanabbi, 8. 

Mu tazilites, 6, 106, 117, 118, 213, 215, 
239, 253, 268, 280, 286, 295, 393. 

Muzaffar, Khwaja. See Abu Ahmad al- 
Muzaffar b. Ahmad b. Hamdan. 

Kirmanshahi Qarmini, 43. 

Muzayyin the Elder, 257. 

Muzdalifa, 326, 328. 


Nadr b. al-Harith, 261, 394. 
Nafi , 191. 
Najd, 83. 
Nasa, 206, 251. 
Nestorians, 244. 
Nibaji, 138. 

Nile, the river, 101, 211, 212. 
Nimrod, 73, 224, 327. 
Nishapur, 16, 41, 120, 123, 124, 125, 133, 
134, 159, 165, 170, 174, 183, 272, 318, 


Noah, 371. 

Nuh, a brigand, 183. 

Nuri. See Abu 1-Hasan Ahmad b. Mu 
hammad al-Nuri. 

Nuris, 130, 189-95. 

Nushirwan, 401. 

Oxus, the river, 142, 235. 


Padishah-i Ta ib, 173. 
Pharaoh, 76, 102, 223, 224, 347. 
Prophet, the House of the, 75. 
Purg, 51. 


Qadarites, 6, 66, 67, 75. 
Qaramita, 383. See Carmathians. 
Qaran, 83, 84. 
Qarun, 347. 



Qassaris, 130, 183-4. See Hamdunis 

and Malamatis. 
Qays of the Banii Amir, 353. 
Quhistan, 173. 
Quraysh, 261, 394. 
Qushayri. See Abu 1-Qasim Abd al- 

Karim b. Hawazin al-Qushayri. 


Rabi a, 83. 

Rabi a Adawiyya, 358. 
Rafidis, 152. 
Raja b. Hayat, 99. 
Ramla, 343. 
Raqqam, 190. 
Raqqi, 408. 

Rayy, 65, 120, 123, 133, 293. 
Ridwan, 232. 
Rum, 207, 222, 244, 407. 
Rusafa mosque, 154. 

Ruwaym. See Abu Muhammad Ruwaym 
b. Ahmad. 


Sabians, 222. 
Safa, 326, 328. 
Safwan b. Bayda", 81. 
Sahl b. Abdallah al-Tustarf. See Abu 

Muhammad Sahl b. Abdallah al- 


Sahlagi, Shaykh, 164, 173. 
Sahlis, 130, 195-210, 296. 
Sa ib b. Khallad, 82. 
Sa id b. Abi Sa id al- Ayyar, 175. 

- b. al-Musayyib, 87. 
Salar-i Tabari, 175. 
Salih Mum, 396. 
Salim, 81. 

- b. Abdallah, 99. 

- b. Umayr b. Thabit, 82. 
Salimis, 131. 

Salman al-Farisi, 45, 81, 90, 232, 344. 
Samarcand, 140, 408. 
Samarra, 145, 359. 

Sarah, 365. 

Sarakhs, 164, 165, 174, 193, 227, 364. 

Sari al-Saqati. See Abu 1-Hasan Sari 

Mughallis al-Saqati. 
Sayyaris, 130, 251-60. 
Shaddad, 224. 

al-Shafi i , 116, 125, 286, 347. 
Shah b. Shuja . See Abu 1-Fawaris Shah 

b. Shuja al-Kirmani. 
Shahristani, 131, 295. 
Shaqiq of Balkh. See Abu All Shaqiq b. 

Ibrahim al-Azdi. 
Sha ram, 396. 
Shibli. See Abu Bakr Dulaf b. Jahdar 


Shi ites, 152-, 263, 383, 404. 
Shiraz, 247. 
Shin n, 411. 
Shu ayb, 74. 

Shumziyya mosque, 123, 323, 
Shurayh, 93, 94. 
Siffin, 84. 

Sinai, Mount, 230, 372, 381. 
Sirat, 1 8, 107, 199. 
Sirawani, 166. 
Solomon, 24, 230. 
Sophists, 15. 
Sufista iyan, 15. 
Sufyan Thawri, 46, 93, 103, 128, 293. 

- b. Uyayna, 98, 118. 
Suhayb b. Sinan, 81. 
Sulayman Ra i, 116. 
Sumnun al-Muhibb. See Abu 1-Hasan 

Sumniin b. Abdallah al-Khawwas. 
Syria, 94, 118, 172. 


Tabarani, 227. 
Tabaristan, 161, 163, 173. 
al-Tabi un, 83, 88. 
Tayfuris, 130, 184-8, 189. 
Thabit b. Wadi at, 82. 
Tha laba, 348. 



Thawban, 82. 

name of Dhu 1-Nun, 100. 

Tibetans, 263. 

Tigris, 1 80, 408. 

Tih-i Bani Isra il, 229. 

Tirmidh, 17, 141, 229. 

Transoxania, 50, 67, 161, 174, 288, 364. 

Turkistan, 407. 

Tus, 49, 165, 166, 234. 

Tustar, 195, 225, 233. 


Ubulla, 408. 
Uhud, 192. 

Ukkashab. Mihsan, 81. 
Umar b. Abd al- Aziz, 99. 

b. al-Khattab, the Caliph, 31, 45, 

70, 72-3, 76, 81, 83, 208, 211, 212, 232, 
254, 304, 361, 394, 401, 411. 

Umayya b. Abi 1-Salt, 397. 
Umm Kulthum, 361. 
Utbab. Ghazwan, 81. 

al-Ghulam, 180. 

b. Mas ud, 81. 
- b. Rabi a, 394. 

Uthman, the Caliph, 65, 73-4. 
Uways al-Qarani, 45, 83-4. 
Uzkand, 234. 


Wahb b. Ma qa 1 * 82. 


Yahya b. Mu adh al-Razi. See Abu 
Zakariyya Yahya b. Mu adh al-Razi. 

Yahya b. Zakariyya, 122. See John the 

Yazdan, 280. 

Yazid b. Mu awiya, 76. 

Yusuf, 32, 136. See Joseph. 

b. al-Husayn. See Abu Ya qub 

Yusuf b. al-Husayn al-Razi. 

Zacharias, 40, 230. 

Zahirite school of law, 135. 

Za ida, 232. 

Zakariyya al-Ansa"ri, 408. 

Zakib. al- Ala, 172. 

Zayd b. al-Khattab, 81. 

Zayn al- Abidin, 76. 

Zuhri, 71. 

Zulaykha, 136, 310, 335, 365. 

Zurara b. Abi Awfa, 396. 



Arabic and Persian words are printed in italics. In their arrangement no account is 
taken of the definite article al. 


abd t 48, 52, 133. 

abad, 386. 

Abddl t 214. 

Abrdr, 214. 

Actions, the Divine, 14. 

adab, dddb, 334, 341. 

dddb-izdhir, 292. 

*adam t 28, 168, 253, 373. 

ddamiyyatj 246, 254. 

W/, 387. 

dfdt, 281. 

aghydr, 31. 

ahddth, 416. 

ahl-i dargdh, 169. 

haqd iq, 22$. 

haqlqat, 2$. 
haqq, 62, 402. 

hashw, 316, 416. 

himmat, 167. 

ibdrat, 59. 

ahl al- ( ilm, 253. 
a//-z ma ni, 403. 

maqdmdt, 61. 

minan, 265. 

mu dmalat, 225. 

fustiw, 172. 

w^/, 265. 
ahrdr, 43. 

tf/fcwaV, 33, 1 10, 157, 177. See 

States of Mystics. 
#, 391. 
0/2, 276. 


akhldq^ 42. 
Akhydr, 214. 
V^, 165, 384. 
385, 386. 
dlat-i maw sum > 199. 
a /zw, 382, 383. 
l dlim-i rabbdni, 151. 
Alms, 314-17. 
, 388. 
, 2 1 6. 
an/as, 164. 
angalyun, 407. 

Angels, 239-41, 302, 303, 351. 
Annihilation, 20, 23, 25, 28, 36, 37, 40, 48, 
58-60, 95, 170, 171, 205, 241-6. See 
fan a. 

l aqi, 309- 

arad, 261, 264, 386. 
arbdb-i ahwdl, 302. 
7z7, 32. 

latffif, 353. 

mcfdnl, 38, 59. 

v ^7, 79, ioo, 265, 267, 382-3, 414. 

arsh, 33. 

Ascension of Bayazid, 238. 

- of Muhammad, 186, 215, 240, 259, 
262, 277, 283, 302, 330, 331, 336, 368. 

of Prophets and Saints, 238. 

Asceticism, 17, 37, 86. See Mortification 

and zuhd. 

Asking, rules in, 357-60. 
asrdr, 255. 
Association. See Companionship. 

- with the wicked, 86. 



Attributes, the Divine, 12, 14, 21, 36, 252, 

253, 279, 288. 
awbat, 295. 

awliyd, 210, 21 1, 212, 215, 295. See Saints. 
awrdd, 303. 

Awtdd, 146, 214, 228, 234. 
awwdb, 295. 
dydt, 373- 
( ayydr, 100. 

/, 149, 171, 196, 206. 
f ayn al-yaqm, 381-2. 
azal, 386. 
azaliyyat, 238. 


J5db, a title given to Sufi Shaykhs, 234. 

badhl-i rtih, 194. 

bald, 388, 389. 

bagd, 23, 58, 59, 73, 143, 170, 171, 185, 

205, 241-6, 253, 266, 373, 377, 380. 
bdqi, 26, 32, 85, 311. 
bashariyyat, 32, 159, 217, 226, 237. 
fast, 181, 374-6. 
faydn, 356, 373. 
begdna, 200, 222. 
btgdnagi, 24, 333, 377. 
Begging, 105. 

rules in, 357, 360. 
btrsdm, 167. 
Blame, the doctrine of, 62-9, 183-4 See 

maldmat, Malamatis, Qassaris. 
Blue garments, worn by Sufis, 53. 


Cave, story of the, 231. 
Celibacy, 360-6. 
chig&nagl, 374. 
chill a ) 51, 324. 
Companionship^_j.89 -3u j[9O, 334^45 See 

Contemplation, 70, 91, 92, 105, 165, 171, 

201-5, 300, 327r329-33> 346. See 

Covetousness, 128, 136, 217. 


dahr, 244. 

dahriydn, 281. 

Daily bread, 106, 157. 

Dancing, 416. 

ddmshmandy 382. 

daniri, 261, 271. 

da wd, 274. 

dawd al-misk, 8. 

Dervishes, 142, 143, 146, 165. See faqir 

resident, 340-5. 

- travelling, 340, 345-7. 
dhdt, 5, 386. 

dhawq, 58, 392. 

dhikr, 87, 126, 128, 154, 155, 242, 254, 

300, 301, 307, 371, 376. 
dlddr, 175. 
didddn, 386. 
dil, 33, 144, 309. 
Directors, spiritual, 55-7, 128, 129, 133, 

134, 1 66, 169, 301, 353, 354, 357, 387, 

408, 418,419. 
Divines, 116, 142, 143, 213. See ulamd. 

- disagreement of the, 106, 176. 
Dreams, 88, 91, 92, 93, 94, 100, 116, 129, 

138, 145, 218, 282, 321, 358, 359. 
Dualism, 259, 273, 280. 
dustdn, 265, 382. 


Eating, rules in, 347-9. 

Ecstasy, 138, 152, 167. See Intoxication 

and sarnd and wajd. 
Essence, the Divine, 14. 


fadI 9 201. 
fd il, 2 37 . 
Faith, 225, 286-90. 
falakiydn, 280. 

/and, 28, 37, 58, 73, 143, 168, 170, 185, 
2 F 



205, 241-6, 253, 266, 373, 377, 38o. 
See Annihilation. 
fand-yi ayn, 244. 
kulll, 37- 

- kulliyyat, 243. 
fdnl, 26, 32, 33, 311. 
fdqa, 325. 
faqd, 368. 

faqir, 20, 59, 60, 165, 309. See Dervishes. 
faqr, 36, 60, 109, 189, 309, 364. See 

fardghat, 109. 
farddniyyat, 281. 
Fasting, 36, 52, 201, 320-5. 
fawd id, 384, 385. 
Fear, 112, 113, 122, 128. 
fikrat, 239. 
/ /, 237, 256. 

Free will, 17, 288. ^Predestination. 
Frocks, patched, worn by Sufis, 45~57- 

See murnqqti dt. 
fuqard, 19, no, 126, 142, 165. 
furqat, 26. 
futtih, 355- 

Garments, the rending of, 56, 57, 417-18. 
Generosity, 114, 123, 124. 183, 184, 317-19- 
ghafiat, 17, 155. l8 7, 242. 
ghalabat, 184, 226. 
ghand. See ghind. 
gharib, 146. 
Ghaiuth, 214. 
ghaybat, 155, 178, 248-51, 256, 301, 370, 

380, 405. 
ghayn, 5, 391. 
ghayr, 62, 105, 237, 274. 
ghayran, 3 8 ^- 
ghayrat, 156. 
ghind, 21, 22, 23, 74. 
ghusl, 293. 
, 32, 45. 
i 289- 

Gnosis, 16, 100, 134, 140, 267-77, 3 2 5> 

392. See ma 1 r if at. 
Grace. See fadl, indyat, kardmat. 


hadath, 293. 
kadkaydn t 167. 

^V^, 373- 
had rat, 256. 

/ia/y, 326. ^ Pilgrimage. 
///, 49, 50, 112, 177, 180-3, 236, 242, 
243, 258, 267, 309, 367-70, 37 !> 37 2 > 
382, 415. See States of mystics and 
hall, 267. 

hall, 244, 254, 279. 
haqd iq, 117. 

haqiqat, 14, 51, 149, 383-4. ^ Truth, the. 
haqq, 384, 404. 6"^ Truth, the. 
haqq al-yaqin, 381, 382. 
hashw, 167. 
7/aj//, 374. 
hawd, 196, 207, 208. 

^oy^/, 376, 377. 

hay rat, 275. 

hazan, 413. 

Hell, the result of God s anger, 199. 

hiddyat, 95, 203, 204. 

hijdb, 22, 149, 236, 325, 374, 4H- Set 
Veils, spiritual. 

hijdb-i ghayni, 5. 

hijdb-i rayni, 4, 5- 

himmat, 155, 235. 

Hope, 112, 113, 122, 133. 

AM, 305, 306. 

7z/^r, 33, 129, 144, 155, J 7 8 , 248-51 

301, 373, 3 8 - 
hud&th, 280 
hiiltil, 131, 260. 
Hunger, 324, 325. 
hurniat, 334. 
huiqat, 47. 
/^.r;/, 386. 



huwiyyat, 238. 

huzn, 371. 

Hypocrisy, 87, 89, 291, 292, 304. 


ibdhl, 131. 

ibddat, 79. 

ibdrat, 203, 276, 385. 

iblidd, 119, 169. 

l idda, II. 

Pjdz, 219, 221, 223, 255. 

ijmd 1 , 14, 225. 

ikhlds, 103, 117, 246. 

ikhtiydr, 171, 297, 316, 388. 

ildhiyyat, 245. 

*7/yw, 1 66, 271. 

ilhdmiydn, 271. 

/////, 103, 267, 381, 382-3, 4 T 5- See 

ilm-i ma nfat, 16. 
- mu dtnafaf, 86, 115- 

shari at, 1 6. 

waqf, 13. 112. 

ihn al-yaqin, 381, 382. 

V/w/, 267. 

imd, 385. 

/ma//, 225, 286-90. 

imtihan, 388, 389, 390. 

imtizdj, 131, 152, 254, 260. 

indbat, 181, 295, 371. 

tndyat, 203, 268. 

inbisdt, 380. 

Incarnation, 92, 236, 260-6. See huli iL 

Indulgences, 116. 

in sdn, 197. 

insdniyyat, 197. 

Inspiration, 271. 

Intention, the power of, 4. 

intibdh, 385. 

intiqdl, 236. 

Intoxication, spiritual, 226-9, 248, 352. 

See sttkr. 
mzi dj, 385. 

/, 199 37- 

ishdrat, 56, 129, 155, 385, 404. 

ishq, 310. 

ishtibdh, 385. 

ism, 3 86. 

istidldl, 268. 

istidldli, 330. 

istidrdj, 221, 224. 

istifd, 265, 390. 

istighrdq, 381, 385. 

islikhdrat, 3. 

istildm, 390. 

istind 1 , 390. 

istiqdmat, 104, 177, 301, 377. 

istitfrat, 75. 

istiwd, 307. 

", 189-95. 

:/, 379, 38o, 386. 
ittihdd, 152, 198, 254. 
ittisdl, 415. 
?> , 356, 370, 373 



, 17, 272, 288, 324. 
jadhb, 195. 
jadhbat, 248. 
jadhtt, 330. 
///, 177, 288, 376. 
/</; , 237, 238, 251-60, 266 285, 380. 

6>^ Union with God. 
jam -i himmat (himam), 258, 282. 
_// /-y rtw c , 39, 259. 
Jam l -i saldmat, 257* 
jam -i taksir, 257, 258. 
jamdl, 177, 288, 376. 

y, 197, 199, 309. 

jandbat, 293- 
jawdb, 3^^ 
jawhar, 386. 
y/^aV, 364. 
al-jihdd al-akbar, 200. 
jisnt, 386. 
jubba, 50, 102. 

y^, 317. 




kabtra, 225, 295. 
kabudi, 17. 
kadar, 30, 32. 
kafsh, 345. 

17, 307. 
fcf/, 288. 
z7, 85, 407. 
kardmat, kardmdt, 109, 177, 213, 214, 

218-35, 2 55, 282, 291, 323, 324, 377, 

379. See Miracles. 
kasb t 28, 195, 225, 254. 
kashf, 4, 47, 59, in, 226, 265, 374, 380, 


khdnaqdh) 69. 
kharq, 57, 417. 
khashhhi, 94. 
khdss al-khdss, 382. 
khatar, 5, 149. 
khatar at, 144, 384. 
/fc/^zr, 387, 388. 
khatm, 5. 
khawdtir^ 149. 
khawf, 371. 

khidmat, 191, 218, 271. 
khirqat) 47. 
khitdb, 415. 

, 73, 326. 

kibrit-i ah mar, 7. 
kitmdn-i sirr, 380. 
Knowledge, 11-18, 108. See #/. 

of God. 6><? Gnosis and ma rifat. 
kulliyyat, 26, 379, 385. 

/# # 385- 

Law, the, 14, 15, 139, 140. See sharl at. 
lawd ih, 385. 
fawdmi i 385. 
Liberality, 317-19. 
aw al-kdl, 356, 

Love, Divine, 23, 24, 32, 33, 34, 38, 67, 
102, 103, 107, 136, 137, 138, 156, 157, 
1 80, 187, 211, 258, 288, 297, 304-13, 

330 33i, 376, 377, 390, 405. See 


Lust, 115, 128, 208, 209, 240. 
lutf, 377-9- 


viadhhab-i Thaivri, 125. 
mafqud, 164. 
maghlub, 246, 312. 

- al-qulub, 85. 
Magic, 151, 152. 
mahabbat, 26, 117, 157, 178, 187, 21 1, 297, 

305, 306, 310. 
mahall) 244. 
tnahf&z, 22$, 239, 241. 
mahq, 373. 
mahram, 349. 
mahw, 59, 373, 379. 
makdsib, 254. 

maldmat, 62-9, 94, 100, 119, 175, 183-4. 
malik, 387. 
malja 1 , 384. 

Man, the constitution of, 198, 199. 
man/, 238. 
ma nt, 35. 
w;//a, 385. 
maydm, maqdmdt, J, 33, 58, no, 157, 177, 

180-3, 2 3 6 > 258, 265, 291, 301, 370-3. 

See Stations of the Mystic Path. 
maqhtir, 368. 
mar dan > 327. 
ma rifat, 16, 79, 152, 178, 194, 225, 

267-77, 3 26 382-3, 390- See Gnosis. 
Marriage, 360-6. 
mash drib, 301. 
mashrab, 414. 
maskanat, 60. 
tna sum, 225, 241, 298. 
ma l tuh, 312. 
mawaddat, 187. 



mawdhib) 254. 

maivjud, 164. 

mihnat, 26. 

Miracles, 152, 168, 213, 214, 215, 218-35, 
323, 324. See kardmat. 

mi rdj, 238. 

miskin, 60. 

mizaj, 281. 

Mortification, 195-210, 256, 257, 346. 
See imtjdhadat. 

mu dmaldt, 30, 38, 41. 

mu dnasat, 382. 

mu dyanat, 331. 

mubtadt, 167, 407. 

mudtarr, 316. 

mufarrid, 362. 

muftariq, 255. 

mukddarat, 373, 374. 

muhddathat, 380, 381. 

muhawwil-i ahwdl^ 41. 

muhdath, 92, 263, 270, 293, 386. 

nmhibb, 26. 

mujdhadat, 35, 36, 47, 50, 70, 85, 95, 
113, 127, 170, 176, 182, 184, 195-210, 
292, 296, 325, 329, 382. 6V? Morti 

mujdlasat, 159. 

mujarrad, 61. 

mu jizat, 219-26, 230, 324, 394. 

mujtami^ 255, 367. 

mukdshafat, 4, 22, 373-4. 

mukhlas, 85. 

mukhliS) 85, 265. 

mukhula, 345- 

mundjdt, 344, 380. 

munib, 295. 

mttntahi, 168. 

muqarrabdn, 4, 295. 

?nuqin, 144. 

muraqqa &t, 45-57, 69, 73, 94. 

*r&; 85, 107, 157, 211, 265, 370, 414. 

murshid, 172. 

muruwwat, 328, 334. 

musabbib, 327. 

musdfirdn, 340. 

niusdmarat, 380, 381. 

mushdhadat, 37, 50, 70, 85, 95, 113, 127, 
129, 155, 165, 170, 176, 184, 201, 237, 
275, 280, 296, 325, 329, 373, 382. .SV* 

mushtdq, 265. 

Music, 399-4I3- 

mustaghriq, 373. 

mustahlik, 308. 

mustami 1 , 174, 402. 

mustaqim, 184, 369. 

viustaswif) 35. 

nnita ahhil, 349. 

mutakallim, 131, 154. 

mutakaiwvin, 369. 

mutamakkin, 119, 152, 168, 369, 372. 

mutaraddid, 372. 

tmttasawwif, 34, 35, 172. 

mutasaiuwifa, 1 6. 

mutawassit, 407. 

muwahhid) 270, 278. 


nadam, 294. 
naddmat, 295, 296, 297. 
wo/J, 149, 154, 182, 196-210, 240, 277, 

303, 404. $#? Soul, the lower. 
nafs-i lawwdma, 62. 
*#, 379i 38o, 386. 
wfl/wa, 352, 385. 
nakirat, 79, 178. 
na l layn, 345. 
namdz, 300. 

Name, the great, of God, 105. 
Names of God, 317, 382. 
naskh-i arwdk, 260. 
nifdq, 89, 291. 
Novices, discipline of, 54, 195, 301, 302, 

338, 354- 
numud, 167. 
Nttqabd, 214. 




Obedience, 85, 90, 287, 288, 311, 312. 



Pantheism, 243, 246. See hulul, ittihdd, 
imtizdj,fand, tawhid, Union with God. 

Paradise, of no account, 107, in ; the 
effect of God s satisfaction, 199. 

pdrsd-fitarddn, 26$. 

Passion, 207-10. See haivd. 

Patience, 86. 

Persecution of Sufis, 137, 140, 154, 190, 

Pilgrimage, the, 107, 326-9. 

pinddskt, 150, 155. 

pir, 17, 55- 

Poetry, the hearing of, 397, 398. 

Poets, the pre-Islamic, 372. 

Polytheism, 38, 113, 132. See shirk. 

Poverty, practical, 60; spiritual, 19-29, 

49, 58-61, 121, 127, 349 ; voluntary and 

compulsory, 71, 316. See fay r. 
Praise of God. See dhikr. 
Prayer, n, 300-4. 
Predestination, 17, 104, 203, 209, 210, 

273. Seeja&r. 
Prophets, miracles of the, 219-26. See 

mu l jizat. 
- the, superior to the Saints, 129, 219, 


- and Saints, the, superior to the 

Angels, 239-41. 

Purgation, 70. See Mortification. 
Purification, 291-4. 
Purity, spiritual, 58-61. See safd and 


qabd, 48, 52, 133, 183. 
qabd, 181, 374-6. 
qadar, 75. 

qadim, 92, 262, 386. 

qahr, 369, 377-9. 

qardr, 385. 

qawwdl, 139, 171, 415. 

qayd, 387. 

qibla, 12, 300, 301, 354. 

qidam, 263. 

qubh, 387. 

qudrat, 300. 

Quietism. See ridd and tawakkul. 

Quietists, four classes of, 178. 

qurb, 85, 226, 238, 309. 

qurbat, 26, 191, 249, 300. 

qusud, 390. 

Qutb, 147, 206, 214, 228, 229. 

quwivat, 280. 


y 21, 33. 
rdhib, 96. 
raja, 133, 371. 
rak-wa, 69. 
rams, 384. 
rags, 416. 

rasidagdn, 228, 233. 
rasm, 35, 36. 
Rationalism, 75. See Mu tazilites, Qada- 


rayn, 5, 391- 
Renunciation, 70, 71, 104. See Asceticism 

and ithdr and znhd. 
Repentance, 294-9. See tawbat. 
Resignation, 73. See taslim and ridd. 
ribdt, 96. 
ridd, 7, 20, 26, 89, 91, 99, 117, 126, 157, 

177-80, 182, 217, 246. 
ridd at, 22$. 
riyd, 304. 
riyddat, 196, 202. 
rububiyyat, 141, 157, 2IO. 
ruh, 196, 197, 261. 
ruhdni, 20. 
ruhiydn, 266. 



rtyW, 391. 

rukhas, 116. 

nistim, 42. 

ru yat^ 389. See Vision. 

rifyat-i dfdt, 1 59. 

ruza-i wisdl, 322. 


sa dlik, 97, 173. 

sabr, 86. 

Sacrifice, spiritual, 194. See ithdr. 

sddiq, 325. 

safd, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 48, 52, 58, 328. 

See Purity. 
safaA, 387. 

safwat, 58, 109, 167, 309, 310. See Purity. 
sdhi l-qulub, 85. 
sahib jam , 258. 

shar , 226. 

-rz rr, 226. 
to* , 158. 
saAw, 58, 85, 184-8, 228, 373, 380. See 

Saints, the, 63, 116, 129, 130, 138, 210-41, 


Saintship, definitions of, 216-18. 
sakhd, 317. 
saldt, 300. 

sama\ 50, 57, 171, 393-420. 
satr, 380. 
sa-wm, 36, 320. 
sayydh, 1 1 8, 173. 
Self-conceit, 62, 63, 148, 155, 156, 214, 


Self-knowledge, 197. 
Selfishness, 3. See nafs. 
Senses, the five, 209, 321, 322, 393. 
shafagat, 134. 
shahddat, 333. 
shdhid, 265, 373. 
shahwat, 208. See Lust. 
shalithd, 8. 
shaqdwal, 389. 

sharp at, 14, 16, 383-4. ^<? Law, the. 

j/foM, 1 68. 

shawdhid, 40. 

skawq, 92, 128. 

Shaykhs, the Sufi, character of the, 55-7. 

shirk, 113, 273. 6V<? Polytheism. 

shurb, 58, 392. 

shurud, 389, 390. 

V/fl5f?> 31, 45> "5. I2 9, 136. 

.r/^7, 101. 

sifat, 5, 181, 264, 386. 

Silence, rules in, 355. 

Sin, 196, 225, 286, 294-9. 

Sincerity, 89, 101, 103, 291. 

>>-, 309, 333, 373, 385- 

siydhat, 53, 192. 

siyydn, 386. 

Sleep, 109. 

Sleeping, rules in, 351-4. 

Sobriety, spiritual, 226-9, 248, 352. See 
sahw. y , 

Soliui ie. t 03, 188, 338. See uz/at and 

Soul, the lower or animal, 9, 196-210, 
325. See nafs. 

Speech, rules in, 355. 

Spirit, the, 196-200, 261-6. See ruh. 

States of mystics, 13, 32, 33, 41, 47, 55, 
180-3, 2 49> 38, 367-70. See ahwdl 
and hdl. 

Stations of the mystic Path, 26, 33, 58, 
133, 168, 180-3, 2 49> 3 02 , 3 8 > 37 - 1 - 
See maqdm. 

su\il, 386. 

Sufi and Sufiism, definitions of, 34-44, 

origin of the name, 30. 

sects, the twelve, 130, 176-266. 

suhbal, 157, 159, 175, 189. See Com 

sukr, 85, 118, 184-8, 380. See Intoxica 

Sunna, the, 6, 14, 23, 46, 334, 345, 361. 

surat-i ma htid, 199. 




td at, 203, 225, 287. 

tab 1 , 5. 

tdbd i iydn, 280. 

tabdyi , 197. 

tadbir, 140. 

tafrid, 281. 

tafriqat (tafriqd], 194, 237, 251-60, 266, 

285, 380. 
tdgh&t, 78. 
tahalll> 389. 
tahdrat, 291-4. 
Af #, 295, 391. 
ta>///, 276, 389, 390. 
tajrid, 45, 60, 121, 135, 158, 165, 176, 


tajziya, 236. 

takalluf, 51, 318, 334, 364, 419. 

takawwiin, 369. 

takbir, 109, 303. 

takhalli, 389. 

takhlil-i mahdsin, 293. 

////, 184, 204, 272, 393. 

to/rt, 97, 20 1. 

tetf/r, 175, 391-92. 

/7^, 34, 39, 169. 

tahvln> 372. 

tamkin, 71, 72, 147, 158, 226, 228, 370-3. 

/rtwj, 384. 

tandsukhiydn^ 264. 

^, 238, 326, 374, 384. 
? , 334- 

tariq, 90. 

ter^tf/, 51, 54, 321. 

tasarruf, 282. 

tefowwuf, 35, 189. 

tasdiq, 286. 

lashbih, 270, 271, 280, 332. 

tasttm, 140, 209, 268, 371. 

tasmiyat, 386. 

/aV//, 104, 202, 256, 257, 270, 271. 

tawdjtid, 410, 413-16. 

tawakkul, 19, 117, 126, 146,153, 177,181, 

205, 290. 
tawdli , 385. 
ta-wdriq, 385. 

tawbat, 79, 88, 181, 294-9, 371, 391. 
tawfiq, 6, 203, 288. 
tawhid, 9, 17, 36, 104, 107, 113, 158, 172, 

202, 205, 236, 253, 278-85, 335, 374, 

381, 385- 
fo w/7, 404. 
ta ytd, 379- 

Technical terms of the Sufis, 367-92. 
thand-yi jamil, 306, 307. 
thawdb, 4, 146. 
Time, mystical meaning of, 13. See 

Traditions of the Prophet, 4, 19, 20, 30, 

46, 52, 55, 60, 61, 63, 70, 72, 80, 90, 99, 

1 08, 116, 122, 143, 148, 161, 1 68, i79> 

184, 1 86, 192, 197, 200, 202, 208, 211, 
212, 230, 231, 232, 254, 26l, 262, 263, 
267, 275, 277, 278, 283, 287, 291, 294, 
296, 300, 301, 302, 304, 305, 312, 314, 

320, 321, 322, 324, 329, 333, 334, 335, 

33 6 > 337, 33^ 344. 35 J > 35 2 > 355> 35 8 , 
361, 362, 363, 364, 368, 381, 388, 389, 

39i, 396, 397, 398, 399, 401, 403, 413, 


Transmigration of spirits, 260, 262-4. 
Travel, 345-7. 
Trinity, the Christian, 285. 
Trust in God, 115, 157, 163, 359. See 

Truth, the, 139, 140. See haqq and haqiqat. 


ubudiyyat, 79, 141, 157, 159, 237, 245, 


ukkdza, 102. 

ulamd, 7, n, 31, 213, 382. See Divines. 
ulfat, 158, 326. 
Unification, 106, 158, 164, 176, 278-85, 

289, 291. See tawhid. 



Union with God, 118, 119, 131, 163, 201, 
202-5, 208, 302. See fand, jam 1 , hudur. 
Unity of God, the. See Unification. 
uns, 301, 309, 376-7. 
usul, 74. 
uzlat, 72, 190. 


Veils, spiritual, 4, 5, 8, 9, in, 168, 200, 

2 49, 33i 332. See hijdb. 
Vigils, 138. 
Vision, spiritual, 38, in, 185, 186, 332, 

381, 382, 389, 393, 403. 
Visions, 151, 167. 


wahddniyyat, 281. 

wahdat, 84. 

wdhidiyyat, 246. 

"cvahshai, 147. 

-wajd, 167, 368, 385, 413-16, 419. 

7V a lay at, 210. 

wait, 129, 211, 212, 215. 

Walking, rules in, 349-51. 

wdqi a, 387, 388. 

waqt, 13, 27, 329, 367-70, 380, 419. 

wara , 17. 

wdrid, 385, 404, 407. 

was d if, 384. 

was!, 309. 

waswds, 1 66, 208, 293. 

^uatan, 5. 

watandt, 144, 384. 

Way to God, the, 121, 233, 269, 270, 274, 


Wealth, spiritual, 21-3, 58, 123, 127. 
wildyat, 210, 211, 225. 
Wool, garments of, 30, 32, 40, 45, 46, 51. 
wujM, 253, 373, 413-16. 
wusul, 1 1 8, 119. 


yad-i sufld, 316. 

yad-i^dyd, 316. 

ydft, 201. 

yagdnagi, 24, 333, 377. 

yaqin, 130, 144, 248, 272, 330, 381. 


zaddiq, 31. 

zdhiriydn, 154, 241. 

zakdt, 314-17. 

zand u pdzand, 404. 

zandaqa, 8, 152, 404. 

zawd id, 384. 

zindiq, 17, 404. 

*uhd, 17, 179, 181, 371. 

zuhdr, 369. 

zulm, 387. 

zunndr, 259, 273. 



Addb al-tmiridin, by Muhammad b. All 

al-Tirmidhi, 338. 
Asrdr al-khiraq wa l-ma > undt> by Ali b. 

Uthman al-Hujwiri, 56. 


Bahr al-qulub, by Ali b. Uthman al- 
Hujwiri, 259. 


Ghalat al-wdjidin, by Ruwaym, 135. 
Gospel, the, 407. 


Khatm al-wildyat, by Muhammad b. All 

al-Tirmidhi, 141. 
Kitdb adhdb al-qabr, by Muhammad b. 

AH al-Tirmidhi, 141. 
Kitdb al-baydn li-ahl al- iydn, by All b. 

Uthman al-Hujwiri, 259. 
Kitdb-i fand u baqd, by AH b. Uthman 

al-Hujwiri, 60. 
Kitdb al-luma^ by Abu Nasr al-Sarraj, 

255, 323, 341- 
Kitdb-i mahabbat, by Amr b. Uthman 

al-Makki, 309. 
Kitdb al-nahj, by Muhammad b. All 

al-Tirmidhi, 141. 
Kitdb al-samd 1 , by Abu Abd al-Rahman 

al-Sulami, 401. 
Kitdb al-tawhid, by Muhammad b. Ali 

al-Tirmidhi, 141. 

Koran, the, 6, 14, 19, 23, 70, 77, 88, 96, 
97, 98, 117, 124, 135, 149, 230, 300, 301, 
304, 307, 317, 323, 394-7, 4H, 4i5- 

Koran, citations from the, 3, 5, 9, n, 19, 
22, 24, 30, 32, 40, 41, 42, 45, 47, 57, 
62, 63, 74, 78, 79, 81, 85, 90, 91, 97, 

102, 103, 109, 122, 156, 159, 160, 167, 

185, 186, 190, 193, 194, 197) J 9 8 > 200 > 

201, 202, 204, 208, 210, 211, 212, 215, 

230, 237, 238, 239, 241, 246, 249, 251, 

252, 255, 26l, 267, 268, 269, 273, 278, 

283, 289, 291, 294, 295, 296, 297, 304, 

311, 312, 316, 320, 324, 330, 336, 338, 

348, 349, 35o> 354, 355, 357, 360, 368, 
370, 37i, 372, 373, 374, 375, 377, 3 8 , 
381, 384, 388, 390, 391, 392, 394-7, 399, 

403, 4i5- 

Koran, commentary on the, by Muhammad 
b. Ali al-Tirmidhi, 141. 


Luma 1 . See Kitdb al-luma . 


Minhdj al-tin, by Ali b. Uthman al- 
Hujwiri, 2, 80, 153. 

MiSat al-hukamd, by Shah b. Shuja al- 
Kirmani, 138. 


Nafahdt al-uns, by Jami, 16, 21, 41, 43> 
44, 169, 172, 173, 234, 249, 257, 260, 
298, 304, 323, 325, 335, 338, 35 8 , 374; 
408, 415. 



Na-wddir al-nsul, by Muhammad b. AH 

al-Tirmidhi, 141. 
Nuzhat al-qulub, by Hamdallah Mustawfi, 


Ri dyat, by Harith al-Muhasibi, 108. 
al-Ri dyat bi-huquq Allah, by Ahmad b. 

Khadruya, 338. 
al-Ri dyat li-huquq Allah, by AH b. 

Uthman al-Hujwiri, 280. 


Tabaqdt al-huffdz, by Dhahabi, 1 18. 

Tabaqdt al-Sufiyya, by Abu Abd al- 
Rahman al-Sulami, 108, 114. 

Tadhkirat al-awliyd, by Attar, 51, 137, 
2 3 8. 

Tcfrifdl, by Jurjani, 373. 

Tdrlkh-i mashdyikh (History of the Sufi 
Shaykhs), by Muhammad b. Ali al- 
Tirmidhi, 46. 

Tashih al-irddat, by Junayd, 338. 

3062 4